Hartland Point Lighthouse

From the North Devon Journal (with similar news in other papers), Hartland lighthouse faces closure:

A HISTORIC lighthouse which has been guiding vessels along the North Devon coast since the 1800s is facing closure.

General Lighthouse Authority, Trinity House, is looking to discontinue the Hartland Point Lighthouse Station.

Hartland councillor, Adam Symons, has pledged to resist the closure of what he believes is one of North Devon's most famous landmarks and is urging people to voice their concerns.

Hartland Point Lighthouse faces the Atlantic Ocean and guides vessels of all types approaching the Bristol Channel.

The move is proposed in the 2010 Aids to Navigation Review on grounds that Global Positioning Systems are making landfall and passing lights less important as aids to navigation. The lighthouse was built in 1874 under the direction of Sir James Douglass, who designed a number of lighthouses including the fourth, and still extant, Eddystone Lighthouse. (A 1900 biography, Life of Sir James Nicholas Douglass, is available in full from the Internet Archive).

There are a number of a good photos of Hartland Point lighthouse, including this one, at Geograph; for more background see its Trinity House page; the Review and consultation details are also online here.
- RG

Addendum: we just had an interesting enquiry via the Comments asking if anyone knows about the construction of this lighthouse and/or possible lines of enquiry.

"I think one of my relatives - Levi (or Levy) Yerward from Pembroke Dock was awarded the contract to build the lighthouse in 1871 but don't have much other information. I believe Levi's wife Jane died at Hartland in 1872."

A look at online records finds a few related references. The project first appears in The Architect of April 1871 ...

Devon.—April 24.—For the Erection of a Lighthouse, Keepers' Dwellings, &c, at Hartland Point, Devon. The Corporation do not pledge themselves to accept the lowest or any Tender. Mr. Robin Allen, Secretary, Trinity House, London, E.C.

... and Trewman's Flying Post for August 2, 1871 reports:

An undertaking, which was projected more than a century ago, is at last on the eve of being carried into effect. In the Gentleman's Magazine for 1755 it is mentioned that a proposal was then lately made to erect a lighthouse on Hartland Point by a gentleman remarkable for public spirit, who offered, if this proposal was complied with, to erect a mathematical school in Bideford, and endow it with £50 per annum. The lighthouse and the school failed to come into existence at the time. It is now announced, however, that Mr. Levy Yerward, late Government contractor at Pembroke Dock, has been selected by the Trinity Board to erect a lighthouse, dwelling houses and other buildings at Hartland Point.

The report was reprinted in The Antiquary in the same year. However, at first glance it looks by no means certain this arrangement went ahead, as "Yerward, Levi, Pembroke Pock, Pembroke, Builder and Contractor" appears in the list of liquidations for July 28, 1873 in The Weekly Notes, Volume 8 (legal news journal of the Incorporated Council of Law reporting). There's a report of Levi Yerward's death in 1874:

Pembroke Dock. Sudden death. On Tuesday afternoon, Mr Levy Yerward, builder, one of the oldest and most respected inhabitants of the town, died very suddenly at his residence, Diamond Street. The cause of death was a ruptured blood-vessel. Mr Yerward had been ill for some time.- Western Mail, Friday, February 20, 1874

The records of Trinity House are probably the best possibility for specifics on the building of any lighthouse, though many of the records were destroyed by World War II bombing in 1940. The Trinity House website has a leaflet on available archives (PDF), which are mostly in Guildhall Library, London.
- RG

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