Worldwide Lighthouses

Fish Quay (Old) High Lighthouse

Fish Quay (Old) High

General Information

Established: 1727

Current Lighthouse Built: 1727

Electrified: 1727

Operator: Private Residence

Light Information

In 1537, it was felt that the entrance to the river tyne - a busy river, even then - needed marking with a pair of range lights, so two candle-lit towers were built. These gave good service up til 1727, when Trinity House decided to replace the range with another two towers - this time square towers were built, just north of the Fish Quays at North Shields.

Each of the two towers had a small square lantern on top of a conical slate roof, with housing for the keepers inside and attached to the tower.

These lights worked reliably for 80 years, until the range had to be changed to allow for alterations in the channel entering the Tyne.

A new high light was built across the road from this one, which changed the range's bearing dramatically. The new tower was also square - it had arched windows on each floor, on every side.

The lower light was rebuilt to a similar design at this time, so that it was obvious which towers were to be aligned. The new towers had larger square stone lanterns, just a bit narrower than the tower - each one had a chimney on the top, to vent out gasses from the lamp, as well as a small window in the front, consisting of 3 square panes of glass. The lower light had an even smaller window in the back of the lantern, so the keeper of the high light could see if the low light was lit. The lower tower also carries a fog bell, behind its lantern.

When Herd Groyne was built on the other side of the River in 1882, to stop sand from the beaches inside Tynemouth Harbour from depositing in the Tyne, it was marked by a red skeletal lighthouse with sectors, which marked the harbour approach - this made the range lights at the fish quays obsolete, so they were extinguished and sold off as private residences, which is how they remain to this day - the external appearance of these lighthouses remain much the same as when they were built, including many original features such as weather vanes, unusual vent chimneys and fog bells.