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New Quay is a small seaside town on the west coast of Wales in the county of Cardiganshire. Once it was a bustling fishing port dependant on the sea, but today it is a popular tourist and holidaymaker venue. Once it had a lighthouse but today it has none.
In 1820 it was decided to build a new pier to replace the old smaller one which housed a watch house and signalling post with semaphore arms used by the Customs and Excise Revenue officers to communicate when on the lookout for smugglers and wreckers.
The noted civil engineer John Rennie surveyed the bay and submitted plans but they proved too costly and the building of the new pier was awarded to Daniel Beynon at a cost of £ 4,722. A harbour company was formed in 1833 and an Act of Parliament was passed authorising the building of a pier with local stone. This was completed in 1835.
The small stone lighthouse, 30 feet high, was not built until 1839 and was placed at the end of the pier. It was known locally as the 'Pepper Pot'; possibly because of its squat appearance; and had a window light which showed a fixed bright light 40 feet above high water level and visible for 6 to 10 miles. It had a small access door in the base.
A severe storm in 1859 damaged the pier and washed the lighthouse away but it was rebuilt only to be destroyed a second time almost 80 years later during another severe storm on 28th February 1937. The current curator of the local museum; an elderly woman in her 80s; remembers the lighthouse as a white painted tower with a red painted conical roof. However, at the time of the storm she was away at school and recalled that her mother often retold to her the story of how she had witnessed the whole event.
With the downturn in trade using New Quay port; the silting up of the harbour thus reducing the draught for vessels; and the inability to attract the Great West Railway Company to build a branch line to New Quay, then it was decided not to rebuild the lighthouse for a second time, and it was replaced with a light on the end of a pole.
The current light consists of an uninteresting modern polycarbonate navigational light on the end of a wooden post which bears a plaque indicating that in addition the light acts as a memorial to those who died during World Ward I and II; and for that reason it is worthy of mention here.