Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse History

Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Bermuda
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Bermuda

Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse began its job on May 1, 1846 and has been flashing out its beam to seafaring men ever since first by the use of kerosene, and finally these days by electricity. In the decade before the lighthouse was constructed, a total of 39 vessels were wrecked off the Western end of the is lands. Here the reefs extend some 16 miles or more out to sea. At the time of its construction in 1844, steel was not available for building purposes. As a result, Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse is one of the few in the world made of cast iron.

The Location

The lighthouse is built next to the Signal Station on Gibb’s Hill, originally operated by the British Army. Oddly enough, the house occupied as the Signal Station was owned by a family of seafaring men who sailed through the dangerous reefs back in the 1700’s without benefit of the warning light which now bears the family name. The hill on which the lighthouse stands is 245 feet high, while the structure itself measures 117 feet from base to light.

The Light

Its beam of light runs 362 feet above sea level. Ships 40 miles away can see it. Its flash can be spotted by planes flying 10,000 feet 120 miles away, while the light itself can be seen on the horizon which is about 26 miles distant. In 1985 60,000 Visitors climbed to the top of the lighthouse by means of eight flights – a total of 185 steps.

The original light back in 1846 was produced by a concentrated burner of four circular wicks. This was replaced in 1904 with a five – wick burner using a gals chimney, which was operated until 1923, when a kerosene burner was installed. This vapour burner system. which lost its place to electricity in 1952, was still used when power failures occurred until 1964.

The Light is now supplied by a 1.000-watt electric bulb which is located in the center of the lens. The lens, which revolves around the light in a trough containing 1,200 pounds of mercury (this system was finally replaced with a new mercury free system after Hurricane Fabian in 2004), weights two and three quarter-tons. Consisting of a series of concentric prisms, the present lens is capable of building the light up to a half million candle power The lens makes a complete revolution once every 50 seconds. This means a flash of two seconds duration at every ten-second interval.

The upgrade

The present lens was installed in 1904, and replaced one which was actually a series of mirrors. For many years the machinery which revolved the lens worked an exactly the same principle as that of a grandfather clock, a 1,200 pound weight, which went down through a center column, was wound to the top by hand about every 30 minutes during the night. On the 4th June, 1964 new electrical equipment was installed and the entire operation now works automatically, with a diesel generator now also supplying the energy in case of power failure.

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The St. David’s Lighthouse History

Facts and Information - St. Davids Lighthouse Bermuda
St. Davids Lighthouse Bermuda

Located on St. David’s Island and overlooking the South Shore, this famous 100 Year-old Lighthouse is a landmark on Bermudas east end. The Lighthouse at the eastern end of  St. David’s island is a sturdy stone structure, 55 feet high to lantern. It shows a fixed white light of the second order, of about 30 000 candlepower, at a total height of 208 feet above sea level.

The light is warning the ships since November 3, 1879 and it has been and it had been subject to changes and improvements, so that in place of the original kerosene burners of the ordinary oil wick type, it has a hood petroleum vapour burner of modern type installed in June 1922. The view from the balcony is superb in its rugged beauty, looking towards the east, and its pleasing panorama of land and water looking westwards.

The St. David’s Lighthouse opens to the public from May to September

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