In 1856 two lighthouses were built at Ling Hill near Hawsker; a High and Low Lighthouse, both marking Whitby Rock. When aligned, the lights marked the off lying Whitby Rock, sometimes known as Scar Rock.
The High Light (or south tower), which is still operational today, was 45ft high, and the Low Light (or north tower) was built on a lower section of cliff, and was 66ft high. Both towers displayed fixed lights and were built approximately 330 yards apart.
In 1890 the Whitby Low Light was discontinued and demolished.
At an elevation of 240ft the light at Whitby was often obscured by low lying cloud. Following extensive fog signal trials at St Catherine’s Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight in 1901, it was recommended that Whitby be equipped with a siren fog signal. A fog signal station was subsequently built on the site of the former Low Light.
The building was divided into two, with an engine room and workshop in one half, and a dwelling for the attendant in the other. Two fog signal trumpets, each 20 feet long and 8 feet high, were mounted on the roof of the engine room and were set about 120º apart. The Whitby fog signal came into service on 4th January 1902.
Two horizontal 25 horsepower oil engines compressed the air needed to activate the horns. The powerful siren gave four blasts every ninety seconds, and the low tone quickly gained the nickname “Hawsker Bull”—it is said that the siren could be heard up to 10 miles away.
With the fog signal to look after, the complement of keepers at Whitby was raised from two to three—two families were housed at the lighthouse, and the third was accommodated in the dwelling at the fog station.
Following a review of navigational aid requirements, the fog siren at Whitby was discontinued in 1987. Initially, plans were put forward for an electric emitter stack, but this never came into operation. The redundant fog signal building was sold and converted to a family home, which became known as Hornblower Lodge.