Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man celebrates lighthouse centenary

Maughold Lighthouse Image copyright Ian Cowe
Image caption Maughold Lighthouse is now automatic. When daylight falls and rises between set levels, a small light sensor switches the light on and off

A ceremony has been held in the Isle of Man to mark the centenary of a "wonder of British engineering".

Maughold Lighthouse, the closest point on the island to England, is situated about 31 miles (50km) from Cumbria.

It was designed and built by David A Stevenson, of the Stevenson engineers, at an estimated cost of £11,000.

The ceremony will be held on Sunday and attended by the island's Lieutenant Governor, Adam Wood.

A Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) spokesman said: "On 15 April, Maughold lighthouse will have provided a guiding beam of light to the mariner for 100 years.

Image copyright Ian Cowe
Image caption Maughold Lighthouse was designed and built by David A Stevenson at an estimated cost of £11,000

"Battling against the odds, the Stevenson family constructed wonders of engineering that have withstood the test of time - an amazing historical achievement."

David Stevenson was a Scottish lighthouse designer who designed over 30 lighthouses in Scotland.

The Stevensons also included the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, who was said to have gained inspiration for his books Kidnapped and Treasure Island from family visits to remote lighthouses in the British Isles.

The Northern Lighthouse Board was established in 1786 and is responsible for about 200 lighthouses.

In 1854 the organisation took responsibility for six Isle of Man lighthouses - Point of Ayre, Maughold Head, Douglas Head, Langness, Calf of Man and Chicken Rock.

Image copyright Ian Cowe
Image caption Maughold Lighthouse was designed and built by David A Stevenson at an estimated cost of £11,000

Maughold was the last lighthouse to have been built on the island. Work began in 1911 and finished in April 1914.

It consists of a 23m (77ft) tower, which is situated on a slope of headland at Maughold Head.

"The building of the light at Maughold Head was not an easy task," said Lorna Hunter from the NLB.

Image copyright Ian Cowe
Image caption Maughold Head Lighthouse still has the original first order lens which dates from 1913

"The tower is positioned half way down a cliff and can only be reached by a flight of 128 steps."

The keeper's houses, now privately owned, are situated at the top of the cliff.

The coastal residence, which consists of four bedrooms and two bathrooms, was sold in 2012 for about £600,000.

The area between the lighthouse and Port-Vullen is a government-protected breeding ground for more than 35 bird species, including puffins and guillemots.

Image copyright Ian Cowe
Image caption On the 15 April, the lighthouse will have provided a guiding beam of light to the mariner for 100 years

The original Frensel lens at Maughold was named after its French inventor, Augustin Fresnel.

It is made from a series of perfectly polished crystal glass lenses set into a brass structure.

The automated light, now monitored around the clock from a remote centre, is visited and maintained locally on a regular basis.

However, once a year, all the lighthouses on the island are visited by the vessel, NLV Pharos, when specialised technicians undertake a full service of the equipment.

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