Penzance Harbour Lighthouse stands on the South Pier, close to the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company terminal. From here the Scillonian arrives and departs for the Isles of Scilly.
A harbour has been in existence at Penzance since the 14th century, where a small fishing fleet operated. The pier has been repaired and extended as the harbour has been deepened over many years.
The original pier at Penzance was built in 1785 and extended in 1812 and 1853. Albert or North Pier was built in 1846 and was the second longest in Cornwall.
The first lighthouse was established in 1817 on the extension of the South Pier but was washed away in a storm in February 1824, also damaging the pier.
The lighthouse was restored following the storm until a replacement was built on the new pier extension. This was first exhibited on 1st August 1855. A fifth-order optic was housed in the lantern. The flashing light displayed a sector light guiding vessels clear of the Gear Rock and Raymond.
Two different types of oil were used for the lamp. The cheaper oil was used for regular use, but in poor weather conditions, a more expensive, longer-burning sperm oil was used to assist the keepers.
The lighthouse was updated in 1914 when a new electric lamp was installed.
In February 2014 the pier was damaged during a severe storm. The power supply to the lighthouse was cut off, so it was not able to operate for several days.
Close to the harbour is the former Trinity House Lighthouse Depot, which for a while housed the former Lighthouse Museum. It has now been converted into offices but is still distinctive in design.