Royal Sovereign Lighthouse marks the sandbank named after HMS Royal Sovereign. It was was one of the newest lighthouses built within the Trinity House service, only to be decommissioned around 50 years later.
A lightvessel originally marked the shoal, which was established in 1875.
Construction of the lighthouse began in 1970. The lighthouse was constructed in Newhaven in two parts. Its base and column were towed out to the shoal. Once in position, the base was flooded so that it sank to the bottom.
The cabin and lighthouse section was then taken out and positioned over the column. A telescopic inner section of the column was then lifted to increase the height to 13 metres.
This video shows the construction of the lighthouse.
The lighthouse was established on 6th September 1971, when the Royal Sovereign Lightvessel was then removed.
The platform above the tower housed the lighthouse keepers. More space was provided for occasional maintenance staff.
The lighthouse was automated in 1994 and converted to solar power. The diaphone fog horn located below the control room was replaced by an electric emitter.
Trinity House announced its intention to decommission the lighthouse in 2019. As a result, Beachy Head Lighthouse was subsequently upgraded to increase its range.
On 20th March 2022, Royal Sovereign Lighthouse shone for the last time. A notice to mariners was issued confirming that four cardinal lighted buoys would be placed around the platform until decommissioning had been completed.
There is a model of the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse, made by Trinity House, on display at the Bexhill Museum, which is well worth a visit.