Two lighthouses mark the entrance to Avonmouth Harbour on the North and South breakwaters.
The first lighthouse at Avonmouth was built in 1839 by Trinity House. It was a white octagonal brick tower, 65 feet high with a castellated gallery. Two lighthouse keepers’ cottages were attached to the tower on either side.
The lighthouse was located where the current docks are, marking the mouth of the River Avon.
Avonmouth Old Dock was opened in 1877 and in 1884 the Bristol Corporation acquired both the Avonmouth and Portishead Docks.
In 1902 work started on the Royal Edward Dock, a much larger dock, and the lighthouse was subsequently demolished. This dock was built north of the River Avon mouth providing access to the Severn estuary and the Bristol Channel.
The new docks were much larger and opened in 1908. A light on a wooden structure was displayed during the construction of the docks. Following the completion of the docks, a pair of lighthouses were built on both ends of the new Avonmouth North and South Piers.
The South Pier Head Lighthouse was completed in 1907, and the North Pier Head Light was completed the following year in 1908.
Both lighthouses were constructed using Norwegian granite and were operated by Trinity House.
The deepwater Royal Portbury Dock was constructed in 1972 across from the Royal Edward Dock. As this also provided access to the Bristol Channel, the old Bristol City Docks were no longer needed.
The operation was later handed over from Trinity House to the Bristol Port Authority in 1991.