Published on 15 February 2008

Eddystone (eddy - tourbillon) was the first lighthouse to be built on a rock on the open sea.

The construction of the first of the four lighthouses was carried out by Wistanley, an eccentric organiser of shows and fairs. The lighthouse disappeared in 1705; a stormy day in which the tempest carried away the whole lighthouse, as well as ..... its builder, who had come on a visit!

Rudyard, the second builder, was no engineer either, as he had made his fortune selling silks. His lighthouse, a mixture of stone and wood, did however, last 46 years before disappearing in a fire in 1755.

Finally, Smeaton, a famous engineer, was engaged to erect the third lighthouse. He used granite and in 1759, after two years of struggle, the lighthouse was put into operation. Unfortunately, in 1839, it was necessary to reinforce the connection of the lantern to the tower and as the base rock proved to have been eroded by the sea, it was necessary to abandon it and construct a new lighthouse on a neighbouring location.

An engineer called Douglas was put in charge. The construction of a stone tower 41.50 metres high took five years and was completed in 1882.

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