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Map Ref: SW577436
Godrevy Lighthouse stands guard over The Stones, a reef stretching offshore for 1.5 miles at the northern end of St. Ives Bay. The Stones had wrecked the Nile, a passenger steamer, in December 1854, with the loss of all hands. After much debate as to whether to build a lighthouse on the reef or on the island, work started on construction of a light on the island in 1858, with the light first operating in March 1859.
It is reputed that the novelist Virginia Woolf got her inspiration for her novel 'To the Lighthouse' from a visit to Godrevy Island on 12th September 1892.
The lighthouse is a white octagonal tower, 86 feet high, made of rubble stone, bedded in mortar. There was a cottage for the keepers and the remains of it can still be seen.
The original light was a revolving white one, with a fixed red below the main light, which could be seen over a 44 degree arc when a ship was in danger of the reef. The red sector is now covered by a red sector in the main light itself. In addition a fog bell sounds every five seconds.
At first the light was manned by two men at a time, but problems with the relief, led to this being increased to 3 in 1925, but by 1934 the lighthouse was made automatic and ceased to be manned.
The lighthouse was altered in 1939, when a new 2nd order fixed catadioptric lens was installed, together with an acetylene burner. The fog bell was also removed. Finally Godrevy Lighthouse was modernised in 1995 when it was converted to solar powered operation. The lighthouse is now monitored and controlled from the Trinity House Operations Control Centre at Harwich in Essex.
Cornish Lighthouses Cornwall's Shipwrecks Gwithian St. Ives Bay The Coastal Footpath