Building the light tower to replace the lightship

By Ginny Smith and Richard Beckett

In the 1970's it was decided that the Royal Sovereign Lightship, moored over a shoal of rocks some 6 miles off Eastbourne, was becoming life-expired and as a result it was to be replaced by a static Light Tower. This Tower would be constructed on the east beach at Newhaven and the photo shows preparatory work in excavating a deep hole in which the base and lower portion of the tower would be constructed. It was necessary to dig a deep hole so that when the base and lower portion had been finished, a breach would be made in the shingle to allow the sea to flood into the excavation at high tide and the base would then be floated out into the bay.

As a point of interest, the shoal, the lightship and the light tower are named after THE ROYAL SOVEREIGN, a Naval vessel which foundered on the shoal after which the shallows were marked with a manned lightship from 1875. The light tower, placed in position in 1971 was also manned continuously until it was automated in 1994.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'SOVEREIGN LIGHT TOWER' page

From the private collection of Ginny Smith

This page was added by Ginny Smith on 12/10/2008.

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