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Smalls Lighthouse (Walker Tower)
approx. 20 miles west of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire
associated engineer
James Walker
Sir James Nicholas Douglass
date  1859 - 7th August 1861
era  Victorian  |  category  Lighthouse  |  reference  SM465087
James Walker was given the task of designing a new tower for the Smalls Rock in the mid 1850s. This tower was to replace Henry Whiteside's wooden one that had stood on the site since 1776.
The Smalls tower was one of the last of the 29 lighthouses designed by Walker. He died in 1862. Construction began only a year after the completion of his second Bishop Rock Lighthouse. Smalls and Bishop Rock towers both stand on exposed and remote sites, making construction extremely precarious.
In both cases, James Douglass oversaw the building process. His experience building on Bishop Rock clearly aided the speedy construction of the Smalls tower, which was built in two years compared to seven. Walker was very pleased with Douglass' work and praised him as being a "worthy scion" of his father Nicholas Douglass, former superintendent engineer for Trinity House.
Whiteside's Smalls octagonal tower had inspired the design for Walker's first Bishop Rock light but after the Whiteside tower failed in its first winter, Walker turned to Smeaton's Eddystone light for inspiration. The design of new Smalls tower was to be what was rapidly becoming the conventional format: a circular stone tower with a flared base to dissipate waves.
A foghorn complemented the warning light and the tower was painted in red and white stripes to aid identifiaction.
Helicopter pads were added in 1969 and 1978. The lighthouse was automated in 1987, and in 1997 the red and white stripes were removed leaving it in its natural stone state.
Research: PS
bibliography
"The Walker Diaries"
James Walker, ICE Archives
"The Lighthouses of Trinity House"
Richard Woodman + Jane Wilson
Bradford on Avon, Thomas Reed Publications, 2002
"Lighthouses: Their Architecture, History and Archaeology"
Douglas B. Hague + Rosemary Christie
Llandysul: Gomer press, 1975
www.trinityhouse.co.uk
Location

Smalls Lighthouse (Walker Tower)