Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 7°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.


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


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



Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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

Annual Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

The annual Christmas Fayre will see around 120,000 people descend on Bury St Edmunds over four days.

Nick Alexander, who died in the Bataclan massacre, in Paris, France. Photo: Foreign & Commonwealth Office/PA Wire.

The singer from the Eagles of Death Metal has paid tribute to Nick Alexander for his selflessness during the massacre at the Paris theatre where 89 people died almost two weeks ago.

Hawkedon Veterinary Surgery is sponsoring a bag dispenser and bags for dog walkers to pick up and dispose of dog’s mess in Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds. Left to right, Cllr Joanna Rayner and veterinary surgeon Rosina Page-Baker with Marley the dog.

A new initiative to reduce dog fouling in west Suffolk has seen dog bag dispensers installed at two popular parks.

Could the Crown car park be replaced by a prefab platform like this one at Manningtree?

Should Ipswich Borough Council spend £3million on doubling the size of the Crown Car Park – or go the whole hog and quadruple it at a cost of about £12m?

The A134 at Assington.

This year’s death toll on Suffolk’s roads is now the worst since 2009 after six fatalities in the last 13 days, according to police figures.

The fire service cordons off an area near Marks and Spencer on Westgate Street where UK Power Networks works to find a gas leak.

A shop in Ipswich high street has been evacuated as carbon monoxide has been detected in the basement.

Bridge campaigners Peter and Mary Curry and Jane Welsh with Braintree MP James Cleverly,

A temporary replacement should be provided in Finchingfield while works are carried out on the main bridge – according to a council report from five years ago.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24