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Killingholme Lighthouse.

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Killingholme is on the Lincolnshire side of the banks of the River Humber. In 1828 the Brethren of Trinity House, Kingston upon Hull, sent a letter to the vicar of Killingholme Church asking him to cut down the trees in front of his church "as they prevented it being used as a sea mark, as it has been for a great number of years". They also told him he could be fined £ 100 for such an offence. In his reply the vicar stated no trees of the church obstructed the "navigation view of the church tower". His son had viewed the situation and found that Mr. Joseph Wright and Mr. Thomas Nicholson, owned the obstructing trees and had agreed to remove them.

The Brethren were always mindful of the needs of the mariner and in 1835 had another go at the vicar resulting in the tower of Killingholme Church being whitewashed at a cost of £ 7, thus emphasising its importance as a daymark.

In June 1836 the Brethren decided to build new lighthouses and they purchased land at Killingholme from Mr. David Brockley for £ 105. The tender of William Hearfield to build two circular brick lighthouses to the design of Francis Dales for £ 350 was accepted. The lights were designated the High Light and the Low Light.

High Lighthouse.
The High light was built in 1836 and rebuilt in 1876. It was 50 feet high and showed a fixed white bright light burning pale rape oil. Samuel Pape was appointed the keeper at a salary of £ 50 per annum and lived in the cottage attached to the lighthouse.

In 1845 some shipmasters reported that the small differential in height between the High and Low light caused observational problems so the high light was raised an additional 20 feet at a cost of £ 150. At the same time the lamps were improved for both lighthouses at a cost of £ 11 3s 6d.

In 1860 to make the high light more distinguishable it was painted red and in a report at the time it was stated as 80 feet high, built of brick, coated with cement and painted red. The lantern was catoptric type, with three lamps, each with one burner and exhibited a fixed white light visible 14 miles. The inside diameter of the lantern was 8 feet 6 inches. The yearly consumption of the three lighthouses was 298 gallons of refined rape oil at a cost of 3/6 to 4/- per gallon and 31 dozen cotton wicks that cost 6d a dozen.

The salary of the keeper had risen to £ 52 per annum with an allowance of free coal and oil and the benefit of the keeper's cottage attached to the lighthouse.

In 1868 tragedy struck the family of the keeper when on 21st September the son of Thomas Leaper, late lighthouse keeper, was accidentally killed by falling from the high lighthouse.

On June 4th 1875 the lighthouse was struck by lightning and the considerable damage included ripping away part of the lantern dome. The surveyor found that in addition to the damage done by the lightning, the stone work was much decayed and weakened. Although it could be repaired and strengthened by a brick casing, he recommended the lighthouse should be taken down and rebuilt. The contract was given to B Musgrave who submitted a tender of £ 2,675. On completion the new lighthouse was 78 feet high; had a foundation of concrete three feet thick with a larger base and thicker walls than before, and the outer walls were built of red bricks encased in concrete. A new keeper's cottage was attached and when the light was re established in December 1876 the two temporary lighthouses placed on specially built jetties on the foreshore were dismantled.

In 1920 the light apparatus was supplied by Messrs. Barbier, Bernard & Turenne, of Paris. The light consisted of a single 55mm incandescent mantle illuminated by vapourised petroleum with the compression plant contained in the compartment below the lantern room. The occultations were produced by a dropping cylinder which covered the light during periods of darkness and was operated by clock work mechanism driven by a falling weight contained in a metal tube in the centre of the lighthouse.

In the 1939 Humber Conservancy Board report the lighthouse was painted every 3 years and was still fuelled by oil with an average annual consumption of 825 gallons from storage tanks with a capacity for 312 gallons. The Chief Lighthouse keeper was Mr. F.Parrot who lived in the lighthouse and was in receipt of an annual salary of £ 120 with free fuel and light. His Assistant was Mr. J.P.Whittingham who lived in the disused North Low Lighthouse with an annual salary of £ 110 and also with free fuel and light.

With the formation of the Humber Conservancy Board in 1908 the lighthouse was transferred from Trinity House at Hull to the Humber Conservancy Board and today the light sits in the grounds of the oil refinery and still exhibits a light. The keeper's cottage has long since gone.

Low Lighthouse. (Later to become known as the South Low Lighthouse)
The Low light was built in 1836 and was 45 feet high on a piece of land 400 yards square. It showed a fixed white bright light burning pale rape oil. Robert Brocklesby was appointed the keeper at a salary of £ 50 per annum and lived in the cottage attached to the lighthouse.

In May 1838 the keeper of the low light complained that his cottage attached to the lighthouse was so smoky that it was almost uninhabitable. After inspection the Brethren decided to dismantle the cottage and rebuild it. However they changed their minds and decided to add another storey to the cottage and raise the chimney to the same height as the lighthouse tower, and this appeared to have cured the problem.

In 1860 to make the low light more distinguishable it was painted white and in a report at the time it was stated that the light was 46 feet high; the inner and outer walls cemented and painted white outside. The lantern was of catoptric type, contained two lamps, each having one burner and exhibited a fixed white light visible for 11 miles. The inside diameter of the lantern was 8 feet 6 inches. The yearly consumption of the three lighthouses was 298 gallons of refined rape oil at a cost of 3/6 to 4/- per gallon and 31 dozen cotton wicks that cost 6d a dozen.

The salary of the keeper had risen to £ 52 per annum with an allowance of free coal and oil and the benefit of the keeper's cottage attached to the lighthouse.

The 1939 Humber Conservancy Board Report indicates that the lighthouse keeper was Mr. R.Burton who lived in the lighthouse and was in receipt of an annual salary of £ 110 and was supplied with free fuel and light. The lighthouse consumed 356 gallons of oil a year which was stored in tanks with a capacity of 400 gallons.

With the formation of the Humber Conservancy Board in 1908 the lighthouse was transferred from Trinity House at Hull to the Humber Conservancy Board and today the light sits in the grounds of the oil refinery and still exhibits a light. The keeper's cottage has long since gone but the tell tale scars can be seen on the lighthouse wall indicating where it was once attached.

North Low Lighthouse.
In 1851 the Brethren considered improving the navigational aids in this section of the Humber and decided to build an additional lighthouse at Killingholme. William Foale was commissioned to design it and Messrs Hutchinson and Musgrave of Hull built a brick circular structure to the north of the existing high at a cost of £ 580. It was completed in 1852 and known as the North Low Light. It exhibited a fixed white light at 37 feet above high water. The lantern with its reflector was supplied by Thomas Purdon for £ 34 10s 0d

In 1860 a report stated that the light was 46 feet high; the inner and outer walls cemented and painted white outside. The lantern was of catoptric type, contained one lamp with one burner and exhibited a fixed white light visible for 11 miles. The inside diameter of the lantern was 8 feet 6 inches. The yearly consumption of the three lighthouses was 298 gallons of refined rape oil at a cost of 3/6 to 4/- per gallon and 31 dozen cotton wicks that cost 6d a dozen.

The salary of the keeper had risen to £ 52 per annum with an allowance of free coal and oil and the benefit of the keeper's cottage attached to the lighthouse.

With the formation of the Humber Conservancy Board in 1908 the lighthouse was transferred from Trinity House at Hull to the Humber Conservancy Board, but by the early 1900s the channels in the Humber had shifted and the lighthouse no longer performed its task accurately and was made redundant on April 20th 1920. The keeper was made redundant and by 1924 he and his family had left the cottage. In 1939 the cottage and lighthouse was still owned by the Humber Conservancy Board but used solely as a residence for Mr. J.P.Whittingham, the lighthouse keeper to the High Lighthouse.

Today the keeper's cottage has been extended upwards with the addition of an extra storey and no longer sits in splendid isolation on the stony shores of the River Humber, but shares the banks with modern houses, protected from the river by a high concrete flood defence wall.


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