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This page contains the report on the restoration of the old Hodbarrow Point lighthouse, near Millom in Cumbria.
In April 2003 the local BBC news reported that the 100 years old lighthouse, which had fallen into disrepair, was to receive £ 20,000 of Heritage Lottery Fund money to restore it to its former glory.
After 6 years of waiting, the restoration project run by the Haverigg Lighthouse Committee with the support of Haverigg Primary School was now started.
From the start of the restoration in April 2003 until its completion in November 2003 my inside 'mole' kept me informed of progress.
April 2003 and the rusty old lighthouse before work started.
7th July 2003 and the scaffolding goes up.
10th July and the lighthouse is protected by polythene.
23rd July and the lantern top has been removed so that a replacement can be made.
2nd August with the new hand railings in the background. The inner walls of the lantern room have been replaced and the old access hatch to the lighthouse now sealed.
24th September and a new frame work for the glass has been installed. The lighthouse has been sand blasted and painted with a tough under coat of red lead paint followed by the first coat of aluminium paint. A new door and dome is being manufactured and the final colour scheme will be a red base to just above the entrance door with the remainder painted white.
3rd October and although still shrouded you can see the newly painted white top and red base and a peep inside shows the aluminium undercoat.
10th November and the scaffolding has been removed to show the new colours. There is only a few more jobs to do such as touch up the paint, replace a cracked window and install a replacement light.
It was hoped to test the light on the 11th November 2003.
The offical opening took place on 15th July 2004 with a procession by parents and pupils from Haverigg Primary School all dressed in period costumes.
HISTORY OF THE LIGHTHOUSE.
Hodbarrow Lighthouse has also been known as Millom breakwater lighthouse and Haverigg lighthouse. In April 1900 Hodbarrow Mining Co. Ltd started building a sea wall to protect the iron ore workings which extended under the river bed of the Duddon estuary.
By 3rd April 1905 the breakwater was completed and the current cast iron tower lighthouse, made by Messrs. Cochrane & Co, first exhibited a light in July of that year. It replaced the Company's 1866 stone lighthouse whose light was extinguished the same day.
The 30 feet tall tower has two floors accessible by internal ladders. Despite electricity not reaching the mining company until 1929 the lamp was fuelled by paraffin throughout its working life. The lens was supplied by Barbier Benard et Turenne of Paris and the light was white occulting; eclipsed 3 seconds every 10 seconds and visible for 10 miles.
The fog warning system was also made by Barbier Bernard et Turenne and in foggy conditions the bell gave 2 quick strokes every 10 seconds.
As trade declined at Duddon Port and the mine output dropped, Hodbarrow Mining Co. Ltd. wrote on 19th January 1949 to the Admiralty's Hydrographic Department advising them that they did not expect to exhibit a light there until trade improved. The also cited the poor state of their wharf and the wharf of the neighbouring iron works as further reasons for the decommissioning of the light and confirmed that they had advised Trinity House of their actions.
Thus it seems the light went out in 1949 after 44 years and the mines fell into disuse and were allowed to flood when the pumps were switched off.
The flooding allowed the RSPB create the current nature reserve.