National Lighthouse Centre

Trinity House
National Lighthouse Centre

The Old Buoy Store, Wharf Road, Penzance, TR18 4BN
Tel: (01736) 360077

The National Lighthouse Centre illustrates the history of lighthouses,
shows how they were built and the conditions under which their keepers lived.

Eddystone, Longships, Bishop Rock and Wolf Rock; just a few of the names which for centuries have meant a guiding light to mariners. Lonely citadels guarding the treacherous waters around our island shores and pointing a luminous finger at hidden dangers. With only the sun and stars for guidance, seafarers have long relied on these lights as a point of reference and an invaluable aid to navigation.

For over four centuries Trinity House has been responsible for the development and upkeep of the coastal lights of England and Wales. The fascinating history of these towering structures, the men who designed them and the lives of the men who served on them is all depicted within the National Lighthouse Centre.

National Lighthouse Centre

Consisting almost entirely of ex-service equipment the exhibits display fine examples of the craftsman of yesteryear and Victorian Engineering at its very best.

Few restrictions are placed on visitors who may touch and operate many of the artefacts. They may wish to relax in the video-theatre or let their imagination wander in the reconstructed lighthouse room.

Trinity House National Lighthouse Centre was established in 1990 and officially opened by HRH Prince Andrew on 5th June 1991. It has brought together probably the largest and finest collection of lighthouse equipment in the world.

Fitting then that it should be housed on the site where 100 years ago the granite blocks for constructing the Wolf Rock Tower were cut. Outside the Centre, arrayed in authentic livery, you will see some of the buoys, which in later years were repaired and maintained within the building. The rail tracks and turntable to facilitate this are still visible, whilst inside, the floor is still the original 4 inch thick rosewood blocks.

Being sited in the heart of a working dock our day-long ticket gives interested visitors the opportunity to explore the many local points of interest and return at their leisure.

Within the centre

* Operate 100 year old optical equipment weighing over 3 tons.
* Sound a Norwegian portable fog horn - just one of the many audible warning devices in the museum.
* Strike a half ton warning bell or a 70 year old ship's brass bell.
* Sit in the reconstructed lighthouse room, surrounded by original curved furniture
and imagine being cut-off from the rest of the world by miles of storm torn ocean.
* Browse around the souvenir shop for that special memento of your visit.

To complete the enjoyment of our visitors and reply to any questions left unanswered, the Centre is staffed by a volunteer crew of mainly ex-Trinity personnel. Their knowledge and memories of the lighthouse service are a living link with times prior to automation and helicopter relief's.

In February 2005 Trinity House announced the museum's closure and relocation of the collection to Plymouth. Trinity House later confirmed that they would not be relocating the collection in 2009, but are in negotiations with National Maritime Museum in Falmouth to display some objects.


On the sea-front road facing the harbour.

Now Closed

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