The Lighthouse which currently stands at the very end of Ramsgate's South Breakwater was built in 1842 to replace an earlier wooden tower which stood at the very extremity of the harbour wall - the footprint of which can still be seen in the stones that make up the pier's surface.
The new tower was built by John Shaw, who was also responsible for building up much of the harbour seen today, although the tower was actually designed by well-known Lighthouse Designer John Smeaton, who was responsible for first building a successful Lighthouse on the Eddystone Rock; The first successful off-shore wave-washed lighthouse in the world.
Smeaton's design had been submitted for the construction of the original tower, but was not accepted - he had died 50 years before it was finally built.
The tower is built from local stone and remains unpainted. A Latin inscription around the gallery reads 'PERFUGIUM : MISERIS', which roughly translates to 'Refuge for the unfortunate'.
Above the stone section is a red painted lantern similar in design to the lantern used at another one of Smeaton's land-based Lighthouses, at shoreham.
The light was originally built to mark the entrance to the town's relatively small harbour, although now the harbour is dwarfed by the Port of Ramsgate, which now surrounds the entrance, leaving the Lighthouse situated almost in the middle of the whole site. The light, which can change from Red to Green indicates if the tide is high enough to enter the harbour - new lights have been built to mark the newer boulder-walls which extend much further out to sea - this part of the port is presumably deeper to allower for larger car-ferries to enter.
Today the Lighthouse is operated by Ramsgate New Port.