St Catherine’s Breakwater Lighthouse

St Catherines Breakwater

St Catherine’s Lighthouse is located at the end of St Catherine’s Breakwater, also known as Verclut Breakwater. The breakwater forms the northern arm of what was originally planned as a naval harbour.

St Catherine’s Harbour developed during the 1840s following tensions between Britain and France. As a result, the Admiralty planned to build large naval bases on Jersey and Alderney. St Catherine’s, on the west coast, was chosen as the Jersey base.

In 1847 work began on the construction of a north breakwater towards a south breakwater from Archirondel to form a harbour. Of the 1200 metres planned, only around 640 metres were built in the following eight years due to financial problems and bad weather.

Verclut Breakwater

By this time, the French and British had become allies, so construction stopped. The southern breakwater had only just started, and a small pier was all that remained.

A lighthouse was imported in November 1856 and installed at the end of St Catherine’s Breakwater on 12th December 1856. The eight-sided white metal tower was 30 feet high. It continued operation until 1950 when a square 25 ft high lattice tower replaced it.

Old Breakwater Lighthouse
St Catherine’s Old Breakwater Lighthouse is located outside Jersey Maritime Museum

Following its decommissioning, the Old Breakwater Lighthouse was relocated to St Helier. It now stands in front of the Jersey Maritime Museum.

A plaque on its tower dated 9th November 1996 reads:

Apart from the five years of German occupation, this light, from St Catherine’s Breakwater, shone brightly for over 100 years to warn seamen of danger. Today it stands as a monument to those islanders who died in concentration camps far from their island home. A symbol of remembrance and a beacon of hope for the future.”

St Catherine's Old Breakwater Lighthouse (Relocated)Established: 1857 Discontinued: 1950 Engineer: Tower Height: Light Character: Range: Fog Signal: Elevation: Automated:
Verclut Breakwater LighthouseEstablished: 1950 Discontinued: Engineer: Tower Height: 9 metres Light Character: Fl W 1.5 s Range: 13 miles Fog Signal: Elevation: 18 metres Automated: