History in Structure

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Flat Holm Lighthouse

A Grade II Listed Building in Butetown, Cardiff

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3757 / 51°22'32"N

Longitude: -3.1187 / 3°7'7"W

OS Eastings: 322234

OS Northings: 164662

OS Grid: ST222646

Mapcode National: GBR J0.SJ8R

Mapcode Global: VH6FT.WPN8

Entry Name: Flat Holm Lighthouse

Listing Date: 6 May 1987

Last Amended: 21 August 1998

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 14095

Building Class: Maritime

Location: Situated on a small promontory at the SE corner of the island, within the bank-and ditch enclosure of the 1869 fort.

County: Cardiff

Community: Butetown

Community: Butetown

Locality: Flat Holm Island

Traditional County: Somerset

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History

The earliest known call for a light on the island was made by Bristol merchants in 1733. In 1737, William Crispe of Bristol obtained a patent from Trinity House, and together with his partner, Benjamin Lund, built a lighthouse which is said to have displayed its first coal-fired light in March 1738. In 1820, the lighthouse was taken over by Trinity House, and at the same time, an oil lantern was fitted, replacing the earlier coal-fired light: An inscription on the underside of the moulded cornice stone of the parapet, immediately above the present entrance records 'Top of the tower rebuilt, 1820'. A new lantern was again fitted in 1866, and the present cast-iron gallery railings added at this time. The accommodation building which encloses the tower was probably built c1820, but has been remodelled more recently.

Exterior

Tapering circular tower, of white painted lined-out render (over rubble), 30m in height, on an octagonal base largely enclosed by service accommodation. Tower has plain moulded band just below its top, and a strongly projecting moulded cornice to the railed platform surrounding the lantern. This has ribbed cast-iron base (housing the service room) and lattice glazing, drum-cowl surmounted by arrow weather vane. Narrow stair windows aligned over the entrances to the tower, and a single rectangular splayed window in its upper stage. Single storeyed building which encloses the tower has original doorway now blocked on the sea-ward side: Chamfered 4-centred archway flanked by narrow side-lights, with Trinity House arms in chamfered pedimented centre-piece of parapet.

Symmetrically arranged flanking ranges with renewed fenestration. Projecting porch in N-facing elevation, possibly a later addition or modification. It seems likely that these buildings were originally built in c1820, but they have been added to and altered in more recent times. The lighthouse is enclosed by low rendered rubble walls.

Interior

Tower is open through to its upper stage, and has cantilevered spiral stone stair with cast-iron rail. Ornate cast-iron brackets to lantern-walkway and short spiral access stair. Helical 'beehive' lens with red sector lights.

Reasons for Listing

The lighthouse is of particular interest for the structural history of its development, the early origins of the tower and its adaptation charting the change from coal to oil, and the subsequent improvements in lantern design over the C19.

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