Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Video: What hidden treasures lie within Orfordness Lighthouse? Charitable trust opens the iconic landmark to the public before it’s taken by the sea

13:00 14 April 2014

Orfordness Lighthouse is opening its doors to the public for the very first time. Nicholas Gold, the new owner of the lighthouse.

Orfordness Lighthouse is opening its doors to the public for the very first time. Nicholas Gold, the new owner of the lighthouse.

Archant

For centuries it served as a beacon of security, offering safe passage for thousands of seafarers.

shares

Now, as the sea it once guarded over grows perilously close, the end of Orfordness Lighthouse looms near.

But before the iconic landmark is lost to the waves, a final chance to view it in all its glory has been made possible.

Nicholas Gold, founding member of the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust, opened the building’s once hidden interior on Saturday for the first of many planned public visits.

“It’s one of the most fabulous and iconic features of the East Anglian coastline,” he said.

“People were saying it’s such a shame that it’s going to fall into the sea so I wanted to revere it in its final days.”

Built in 1792 by Lord Braybrooke, the lighthouse has enjoyed a fascinating history over its two centuries on the coast.

Once a hugely profitable source of revenue, charging a penny for every tonne of passing cargo, it became shrouded in secrecy from 1913, when the military arrived, closing much of the Ness to the public.

Although the National Trust has reopened the surrounding landscape, the lighthouse itself has remained off limits – until now.

“People have been knocking on my door saying what wonderful news it is,” said Mr Gold.

More than a dozen local residents were ferried across for the first public opening in more than a century.

As they climbed the winding staircase, examples of Victorian engineering were revealed, from the impressive optics, which 
once lay on a one-tonne bed of mercury, to the communication pipelines and finely crafted furnishings.

“It’s a wonderful experience,” said Andrew Curtis, a 74-year-old Orford resident.

“I would strongly advise other people to come here while the chance is there.

“It’s a unique building with lots of interesting Victorian artefacts, some lovely craftsmanship and is a real historic part of our heritage.”

From the top of the 30m tall lighthouse, where its powerful beam once shone 24 miles out to sea, visitors were rewarded with spectacular views of the Suffolk coastline.

“They are just incredible, stunning views of the isolated landscape,” said Mr Gold.

“In the 18th Century, a building of 100ft, right on the coastline, must have instantly become an iconic structure that struck a chord with mariners and landlubbers alike.”

Many of the visitors were shocked by the scale of the coastal erosion, which has left just seven metres between the base of the tower and the coast.

Though the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust, with the help of local fishermen, has since built new defences to slow the erosion, last winter’s storms had taken a brutal toll.

“It’s very obvious to see how fast the erosion has increased,” Guy Murray, 43, a repeat visitor to the Ness.

“The lighthouse is a very important part of the heritage of Suffolk and it’s going to be a great loss when it goes.”

Graeme Kay, another of the visitors, said it gave “pause for thought” to see “such a massive structure to be so vulnerable to the elements”.

“It will be like a gaping wound on the landscape when it collapses,” he added.

The Trust will be opening the lighthouse to schools, community groups and anyone else who expresses an interest.

It will also salvage as many of the artefacts as possible once nature takes its inevitable toll.

To inquire about visiting email orfordnesslighthouse@gmail.com.

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Police are searching for 15-year-old Niamh McGovern, who has gone missing from Braintree (pictured)

Police say they are concerned for the welfare of a 15-year-old girl who has gone missing from Braintree.

Pupils at Farlingaye High, Woodbridge, prepare their presentations as part of the Most Able Student Day at the school.

Gifted pupils gathered for the latest in a series of events aimed at helping them realise their early academic promise.

Rail passengers will be bussed to Newbury Park Tube station.

A 100-strong fleet of buses was rolling into action today to keep passengers moving between East Anglia and London as the first weekend rail line closure takes effect.

A library photo of the M25, which has been hit by severe delays today by a car transporter fire

There are serious delays on the M25 in Essex after a car transporter fire forced emergency services to close the anti-clockwise carriageway.

Ipswich Crown Court.

An Ipswich mother accused of helping herself to £27,000 of her 25-year-old son’s money while he was in a care home has told a court he let her use some of his money to pay her debts.

The launch of a campaign for better mobile phone signal in Boxford and South Suffolk with MP James Cartlidge.

Improving mobile phone signals in rural Suffolk could be a matter of “life and death”.

An Abellio Greater Anglia train

Congestion caused by a late-running freight train is causing delays of up to 15 minutes for passengers travelling through Ipswich station.

Most read

Fred Olsen Travel Sale

cover

Click here to view
the Fred Olsen
Travel Sale

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24