Worldwide Lighthouses

Belle Toute Lighthouse

Belle Toute

General Information


Established: 1828

Current Lighthouse Built: 1834

Height: 16 Metres (52.49 Feet)

Operator: Private Residence

Designer: James Walker

Light Information


White: 22 Nautical Miles

Belle Toute Lighthouse is a very historic 14 metre high, Aberdeen Granite built lighthouse that was constructed in 1834 by James Walker, who was Engineer to Trinity House at the time (Belle toute meaning "Everything Beautiful" in French is thought to actually originated from the saxon words 'Bel', which is the name of an early pagan deity and 'Toot' for 'Lookout'). The light came as a response from Trinity House after the wreck of an 'East Indiaman' sailing ship called 'The Thames', which ran aground on the rocks at Beachy Head. This was despite several other petitions and requests going back almost a further 100 years for such a light which went ignored.

When built, the tower was over 34 metres from the cliff edge, and was designed so that vessels that got too close to the cliffs would no longer be able to see the light, meaning they should move further out to sea - the problem with this is that the cliffs erroded more and more and eventually it got to a point where the light could still be seen by a ship that had run agound.

Another problem with the lighthouse was that the cliffs made it too high up, meaning a lot of the time it was shrouded in fog!

The Light's 30 Argand lamps and parabolic reflectors produced a light visible for 22 Nautical Miles, giving a flash that was controlled by a clockwork machine which rotated the frame that held all of the lamps.

The lighthouse continued operation until the day the new lighthouse was lit, but a red light was also shown from the construction site of Beachy Head lighthouse.

In 1902 the lighthouse was extinguished and was sold off by Trinity House the following year.

During World War II the lighthouse was almost destroyed by Canadian troops using it for target practice, despite it being a private residence and still in a good condition before the war.

After the war the lighthouse was left without a lantern - Sometime after the 1960's a replica was made and installed.

In 1999 Erosion left the lighthouse only 3 metres from the edge of the cliff and so in a well documented move, the lighthouse was lifted up and was moved 17 Metres back on metal rails, before being let down onto a new foundation and an extra story away from the cliffs.