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End of an era as preparations for demolition of iconic Orfordness Lighthouse begin

PUBLISHED: 17:50 16 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:17 17 July 2020

Preparatory work has begun to bring down the Orfordness Lighthouse Picture: CARL HUMPHREY

Preparatory work has begun to bring down the Orfordness Lighthouse Picture: CARL HUMPHREY

Archant

It has shone as a beacon on the Suffolk coast for more than 200 years - but now, preparations have started to demolish the much-loved Orfordness Lighthouse, before it falls victim to the sea.

It's not known when the lighthouse will be brought down completely Picture: CARL HUMPHREYIt's not known when the lighthouse will be brought down completely Picture: CARL HUMPHREY

The red and white landmark has been a popular sight for tourists for decades.

But as the coast continues to erode, the iconic structure has got perilously close to the ocean - it was just 20m away from the shoreline in 2005, and 10m away in 2015.

With the bungalow next to the lighthouse claimed by the sea last year, there have long been concerns about the future of one of Suffolk’s best-loved attractions.

East Suffolk Council’s building control team visited the lighthouse in January, advising that consideration be given to its future. However, the council did not issue a notice for the landmark’s demolition, saying that it did not feel that it was in immediate danger.

Teams work to remove the top of the lighthouse Picture: CARL HUMPHREYTeams work to remove the top of the lighthouse Picture: CARL HUMPHREY

The area where it stands is also a Site of Scientific Special Interest (SSSI) - but the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust took the difficult decision in January to demolish it, rather than let it be washed away.

Preparation work to take it apart started this week, with pictures showing cranes at the site and the top of the lighthouse being removed from the remaining structure.

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Workers will now get ready to take demolish it, salvaging bricks from the lighthouse to be sold off as lasting momentos.

The top of the lighthouse has now been removed Picture: CARL HUMPHREYThe top of the lighthouse has now been removed Picture: CARL HUMPHREY

The sale of the bricks will also help to pay for the demolition work.

Nicholas Gold, who owns the lighthouse and is a trustee of the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust, confirmed on Thursday afternoon that preparatory work had begun to bring the lighthouse down.

“We are getting it ready,” said Mr Gold.

Mr Gold also confirmed that the process to bring down the lighthouse in its entirety would take a number of weeks.

The lighthouse has stood on its current site since 1792 and was opened up to visitors in 2013.

Thousands of people are believed to have visited the landmark in the last few years of its life.

Orford Ness is currently closed to visitors.


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