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Corsewall Lighthouse
Corsewall Point, Kirkcolm, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, UK
associated engineer
Robert Stevenson
date  1815 - 1817, 1889 - 1891, 1910
UK era  Georgian  |  category  Lighthouse  |  reference  NW979726
ICE reference number  HEW 2412
Corsewall Lighthouse, in south west Scotland, was designed by celebrated lighthouse engineer Robert Stevenson and built by contract workers. Its purpose is to mark the east side of the channel between the Rhinns of Galloway and the Irish coast. The light remains operational, though automated in 1994, but the surrounding buildings are now in private ownership.
Corsewall is typical of the 18 Scottish lights constructed to Stevensonís designs between 1812 and 1833. It was built for the Northern Lighthouse Board (est.1786), which is responsible for lighthouses around the coast of Scotland and the Isle of Man.
Stevenson (1772-1850) visited the site in December 1815, at which time 9m of the tower and part of the two-storey keepers' accommodation had been completed. His specification for the light, published in local newspapers in October 1816, advertised that "The light will be from oil with a reflecting and revolving apparatus Ö" giving "Ö light of natural appearance alternating with red".
The lighthouse has a tapering circular masonry tower 26.2m high, set on a castellated cylindrical base. The light is 33.5m above sea level and reached by a winding stair. The light room has a domed copper roof with three rows of triangular metal-framed glazing, surrounded by a walkway with a latticed parapet.
The original lantern consisted of an oil lamp with 12 reflectors, which had to have daytime covers to prevent spontaneous combustion. Lighthouse construction was completed in 1816 and the light first exhibited in 1817.
The tower and keeper's accommodation are composed of whin rubble, which let in dampness from the atmosphere. Around 1835, the buildings were given a coat of linseed oil and sand to cure the problem.
David Alan Stevenson (1854-1938), Robert Stevensonís grandson, modernised the lighthouse in 1889-91 by adding a brickwork engine house to power a new foghorn, and refurbishing the accommodation. Further improvements were carried out in 1910.
The lighthouse suffered minor bomb damage in 1941. In November 1970, the supersonic jet Concord flew over the lighthouse on one of its trial flights, shattering some of the panes of glass in the lantern.
Corsewall Lighthouse became a Category A listed building in July 1972 and was automated in 1994. Its present light has five white flashes every 30 seconds and can be seen for some 41km. The lighthouse remains in use and is monitored remotely from the Northern Lighthouse Boardís offices in Edinburgh. An Automatic Identification System (AIS) has been installed as an aid to navigation.
Supervising engineer: Lachlan Kennedy
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH SLB

Corsewall Lighthouse