The current Lowestoft Lighthouse is one of many that have been built to guide ships along this stretch of coastline over the years.
Two lighthouses were established at the Ness in 1609 forming leading lights. When the two lights were aligned, they would guide vessels safely through the Stamford Channel.
These lighthouses were rebuilt in 1628 and again in 1776 when the rear light was relocated higher up the cliff.
The Low Light was discontinued in 1706 due to the ever-changing coastline, but following complaints from shipowners it was later re-established and mounted on a moveable rail so that it could be repositioned as the channel shifted.
In 1777 the High Light received a new glass lantern and an experimental lighting system consisting of a large mirrored cylinder which reflected the light from oil lamps arranged outside it. However, by 1796 the ‘spangle light’ as it has become known had been replaced by Argand oil lamps with parabolic reflectors.
In 1870 Trinity House decided to install electricity following successful experiments at South Foreland Lighthouse, and a new High Lighthouse was built to house the new equipment. In the meantime, paraffin oil had become widely available and was considered more efficient and cost-effective, so this was used instead of electricity.
A new optic was installed in the High Lighthouse, which was finally established in 1874.
Meanwhile, the Stamford Channel continued to shift and slowly disappeared. By 1923 the Low Light was no longer necessary and was therefore discontinued.
The lighthouse was automated in 1975.
Lowestoft lighthouse is located alongside Sparrows Nest Gardens, where the nearby Maritime Museum can also be found.
Lowestoft has a number of Scores. These narrow lanes and steep pathways run down towards the beach and were used to link the High Street on top of the cliffs to the beachside below.
At the top of Lighthouse Score is a sign which reads:
“The present lighthouse at the top of this score is 123 feet above sea level, and its light can be seen 17 miles out to sea. It was opened on 16th February 1874 and was manually operated until the 1990s when it became automated and closed to the public. Local records show that this score, 98 yards in length was laid out in 1806.
A row of cottages once stood at the foot of this score, and a local tale tells of one resident named “Happy Welham”. On summer days he sold “Happy’s Home Made Drink”, a wine of dubious vintage, and charged tuppence to see an unexploded German naval shell that landed in the score in 1916.”