New Needles lighthouse planned

New lighthouse planned | 1859 | Period: Victorian

In 1859 Trinity House planned a new lighthouse to be built on the outermost of the chalk rocks near sea level.

It was designed by James Walker and cost £20,000. The circular granite tower has perpendicular sides and is 33.25m high, of uniform diameter with an unevenly stepped base to break the waves and discourage sea sweeping up the tower. The wall varies from 1.07m in thickness at the entrance to 0.61m at the top. Much of the base rock was cut away to form the foundation, and cellars and storehouses were excavated in the chalk.

The light at the Needles has two white, two red and one green sector, with one of the red sectors intensified, these are set out as follows:
- Red intensified sector shore to 300 marks the St Anthony Rocks
- White sector 300 to 083 marks the approach to the Needles Channel from the west
- Red sector 083 to 212 marks the Shingles Bank
- White sector 212 to 217 marks the course through the Needles Channel
- Green sector 217 to 224 marks a safe channel past the Hatherwood Rocks and the Warden Ledge

A helipad was built on top of the Needles Lighthouse in 1987.

The Needles Lighthouse was automated in 1994, the keepers left the lighthouse for the last time on 8th December. Needles was the last Trinity House lighthouse powered by 100V DC electricity from it's own generators; to enable the automation to be carried out mains power has been supplied via a subsea cable from the Needles Battery, which provides 240V AC power for the new equipment.

The original optic with it's arrangements of green and red glass giving the different coloured sectors of light remained after automation but a new three position lampchanger was installed with two 1500W 240V main lamps and a 24V battery powered emergency lamp.

Admission tickets to The Needles Old Battery and The Needles Park are available from the Ships Stores onboard or when making a ferry booking online.