The impressive 200-year-old lighthouse is probably one of the oldest, surviving, sea-washed lighthouses left in the world. Bell Rock Lighthouse is the name of a lighthouse situated on the Bell Rock, which lies 12 miles (18 km) off the coast of Angus, Scotland. It was intended to warn ships and save them from being wrecked by the Bell Rock, which went under water at high tide and was not visible to the naked eye. The lighthouse was the brainchild of Robert Stevenson, a Scottish engineer, who began its construction work in 1807. The lighthouse works in tandem with a shore station, which is known as the Bell Rock Signal Tower. The tower was constructed in 1813, at the mouth of Arbroath harbor. This incredible feat of engineering has not gone through a single repair and has not required additional stonework to keep it standing for nearly 2 centuries. This lighthouse was actually built to warn ships, because earlier, thousands of lives were claimed at sea due to improper sea- guidance. If these facts have intrigued you and you are looking for more, then, in the following lines, we have provided more fun and interesting facts about Bell Rock Signal Tower.
Image: Derek Robertson [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Location: Inchcape, offshore Arbroath, Scotland
Built In: 1807-1810
Built By: Robert Stevenson
Historical Importance: It is the world’s oldest, surviving, sea-washed lighthouse.
Fun & Interesting Facts about Bell Rock Lighthouse
- Bell Rock Lighthouse is situated in the North Sea, perched on top of Bell Rock (also known as Inchcape).
- The Lighthouse lies 12 miles (18 km) off the coast of Angus, Scotland, east of the Firth of Tay.
- Bell Rock Lighthouse was built by Scottish engineer - Robert Stevenson, between 1807 and 1810.
- The lamp of the Lighthouse was first lit on 1st February 1811.
- Bell Rock Lighthouse is the oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse in the whole world.
- The construction for this lighthouse happened at a very slow pace. In a course of two years, the tower only stood at a height of 6 feet.
- The Lighthouse towers up to a height of 35 m high, with its light being visible from 35 statute miles (55 km) inland.
- The masonry work under Bell Rock Lighthouse has not been replaced or adapted even once in almost 200 years of its existence.
- The lamps and reflectors of the Lighthouse were replaced in 1843.
- Bell Rock Signal Tower was constructed in 1813, at the mouth of Arbroath harbor.
- Bell Rock Signal Tower presently houses Signal Tower Museum, where one can find about the history of the lighthouse.
- The Lighthouse is similar, to a certain extent, to Eddystone Lighthouse, designed by John Smeaton. However, Stevenson’s design had a 40-degree slope to the original design of the Eddystone Lighthouse, which happened to be a crucial alteration—without this, the lighthouse would have collapsed during a violent sea storm.
- A total of about 2500 Aberdeen granite stones were used in the construction of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. To source these unique stones, Stevenson, with around 35 other artificers, set sail to acquire these granite stones in 1807.
- The Lighthouse is the last sea tower to be built in the days of sail.
- Scottish engineer - John Rennie was the Chief Engineer of the Lighthouse, who visited it only twice during the entire period of construction.
- The construction of the Bell Rock Lighthouse could only take place during summer, as the tides were low. Most of the time, the builders, the artificers and Stevenson, were constantly seasick and worked laboriously to build this lighthouse through grim, squally nights and chilly, freezing water.
- The first stone of Bell Rock Lighthouse was laid on July 9, 1808.
- The working of the Lighthouse has been automated since 1998.
- Stevenson elaborated on the design of the lighthouse, using state-of-the-art-technology and oil lighting technology to create the brightest beacon, the world had ever seen.
- At the time, the project cost Stevenson, a whopping 42,685 Sterling Pounds.