Margate's first Lighthouse was built in 1828 to mark the town's newly built breakwater. The original lighthouse was a round Doric column, similar to the old west pier light at Whitby. It had a square gallery and cylindrical lantern, but this tower became a victim of the Great Storm of 1953. Strong seas pushed the old tower over, leaving it leaning at a precarious angle for several hours, prior to it collapsing, along with a large section at the end of the pier. The storm also destroyed the local pleasure pier.
In 1955, the current octagonal concrete tower was built, topped by a copper lantern housing a fixed red LED light.
Unlike the original tower, this new structure was of a much simpler and less grand design. The new lighthouse, which has become one of Margate's most recognizable landmarks is accessible by walking the pier, which is open to the public and free of charge.