Worldwide Lighthouses

Blackwall Experimental Lighthouse

Blackwall Experimental

General Information


Established: 1846

Current Lighthouse Built: 1846

Operator: Trinity Buoy Wharf

Designer: Sir James Douglass

Light Information


White: Nautical Miles

The Lighthouse on Trinity Buoy Wharf (sometimes known as Bow Creek or Blackwall's Experimental Lighthouse) was a site for Trinity House to test their Lighting equipment and train keepers for all aspects of keeping various types of Light stations, ranging from cleaning the glass of the lantern to refuelling the Light, maintaining the machinary and sounding a range of different types of fog signal (whilst the more domestic tasks such as cooking and cleaning were taught in Harwich)

Trinity Buoy Wharf is actually at the junction of two rivers - the River Thames and River Lea, making it an ideal place for Lightships and Buoys to be moored and bought ashore, whilst being out of the path of river traffic.

The Lighthouse seen today was built in 1846 to the design of James Douglas, who was engineer to Trinity House at the time and was also used for trials of electric Lighting, by Michael Faraday. The gault brick tower was built to replicate the working conditions of most onshore Lighthouses, so that Lighthouse Keepers could be trained to operate and maintain any Lighthouse they were stationed at, regardless of what equipment it used.

The small rotating optic that stood in the tower was placed at the top of a flight of stairs in the Trinity House depot in East Cowes, but was removed when the depot closed, and was transfered to the Lighthouse Museum at Hurst Point.

The site, which now provides artists accomodation and a local school, prides itself on being London's only Lighthouse, although there are several other Lights on the River Thames, further out of London.

Access to the wharf is via a road, and you can walk onto the wharf anytime during the day - also moored here are the Lightships 93 and 95, which serve as artists studios.