Corbiere Lighthouse

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Completed in 1874, Corbière Lighthouse was the first such structure in the British Isles to be built entirely from concrete, rather than traditional stone, blockwork. The many lighthouses which are built from stone require complex arrangements of interlocking blocks to prevent the sea from eroding and finally demolishing man’s handiwork. Corbière, on the other hand, has no chinks and fissures for the sea to probe in search of weaknesses, so it has withstood the test of the past 130 years without apparent difficulty. The marine architect Sir John Coode, who designed the lighthouse, can take much of the credit for this, but he was assisted by an engineer, Imre Bell, who turned the plans and Sir John’s concept into the structure we know so well today. With a total elevation above the sea of 135 feet and a tower height of 62 feet, Corbière is not among the giants of the lighthouse world. Nevertheless, it is an imposing building by any standards, especially in its traditional livery of bright white paint. Originally, the lantern, which can be seen at a range of 18 miles in good conditions, was fired by paraffin and required the constant attention of keepers who lived in the tower. Now it is powered by electricity and, since the late 1970s, has required no permanent staff on site. The concrete causeway which links the light’s rock with the coast at Corbière means that it is easy enough to see the structure in close-up at low tide. A klaxon warns the unwary that it is time to make tracks after the tide has turned, but the area is potentially very dangerous. If the light itself has survived without major incident, the same cannot be said of the keepers. On 28 May 1946 one of them, Peter Edwin Larbalestier, was drowned while trying to rescue a holidaymaker who had been cut off by the rising water. A plaque commemorating his bravery can be seen near the landward end of the causeway. Although the light is the principal means of warning ships of the perils of the Island’s south-west coast, a powerful foghorn has been sited at the foot of the tower.

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Comments (13)

Yorkshire Sam on January 14, 2013

A nicely balanced shot and a good read. Well done that man !

Neil Grimwood on January 14, 2013

Ta very much Sam, this was in amongst some holiday snaps,worth an upload especially with the info.

Richard Gregory 48 on January 14, 2013

Nice to read the info about the place Neil and great capture too. Like..Richard

Neil Grimwood on January 15, 2013

Thanks Richard, we stopped here on a coach tour, its a lovely place but we really could have spent a lot more time here.

Andy Rodker on January 15, 2013

The sort of rocky coast I like. Nice view and shot. Best wishes, Andy

Neil Grimwood on January 15, 2013

Thanks Andy, it is rather nice,maybe not the high cliffs you usually frequent, just right for me though;-)) Best wishes to you too...Neil.

Neil Grimwood on January 15, 2013

I hope so too Ian, especially after yesterday and today, SNOW!! 2 hours this morning clearing my drive and the road,just got finished and down it came again, all to do again after lunch.So yes, like you and others no doubt,i'm hoping for a nice Summer. Thanks for calling in,i'm pleased you liked the info too;-)

Rosalyn Hilborne on January 15, 2013

I find September a good month to holiday in this country Neil. This is a beautiful picture from Jersey, on my ever growing list of places I must visit before......Like it :)

Neil Grimwood on January 16, 2013

It suited us just fine Rosa. If we fullfilled our ever growing lists of places to visit i've a funny feeling we wouldn't have time to visit home;-)) Don't even think about "before" Rosa, well, i try not to anyway;-)

Excellent photo, beautiful colors! Like!

Neil Grimwood on January 26, 2013

Thankyou varkos, i'm pleased you like this picture...Neil.

Geezer Vz on February 1, 2013

Beautiful picture and very interesting history. Thanks for both. It appears that this was a great leap forward in lighthouse construction. I like this composition showing the entire lighthouse island and the causeway to it. It seems to me the topography of this island would yield many unique and interesting compositions. Did you walk out there?



Neil Grimwood on February 1, 2013

Hello Guy. The use of concrete has certainly paid off it seems,i don't think i would fancy the job of painting it though;-))Incidentally the other concrete structure on the right is a German World War2 bunker. No,unfortunately we didn't get to the lighthouse, we were on a coach tour so the clock was against us, pity really because we could have spent a lot more time here.Thanks for calling in Guy,i'm pleased you like the picture and the info.

Best wishes...Neil.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on January 14, 2013
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Neil Grimwood
    • Camera: SONY DSLR-A300
    • Taken on 2012/09/10 10:55:03
    • Exposure: 0.008s (1/125)
    • Focal Length: 45.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/13.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO100
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash