Climb up Happisburgh Lighthouse this Easter
Archant Norfolk 2016
As the oldest working light house in East Anglia, Happisburgh Lighthouse has had a memorable life so far.
More than 200-years-ago in October 1789 a severe storm hit and an estimated 70 sailing ships, along with 600 men, were lost off the Norfolk coast.
There were no warning lights between Cromer and Winterton to help guide those out at sea, prompting Trinity House, the General Lighthouse Authority for England and Wales to build two lighthouses at Happisburgh. Low Light on the top of the cliff and High Light, 400 yards inland. It wasn’t until two years later, on New Year’s Day that they began operating by candle light.
In 1883 Low Light was demolished due to coastal erosion and the need to cut costs. Remaining High Light, which is the one we see today, was painted with red and white stripes to clearly differentiate it from others on the coast during daylight.
As navigational technology improved, Happisburgh Lighthouse was declared redundant and set to be decommissioned in 1988. The local community started a campaign, fighting to save Happisburgh Lighthouse. They called it The Friends of Happisburgh Lighthouse. The Merchant Shipping Act 1896 states that Trinity House can pass an operational lighthouse over to an established lighthouse authority so they filed a Private Bill to Parliament to secure that status for themselves.
Happisburgh Lighthouse Act was successfully created and formed a trust called the The Happisburgh Lighthouse Trust allowing The Friends of Happisburgh Lighthouse to run the lighthouse and keep it operational.
The trust took over responsibility for the lighthouse on 1st August 1990 and the occasion was marked by a visit from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Today, the lighthouse is maintained and operated completely on donations and voluntary work.
The lighthouse opens to visitors over the Easter Weekend and with last year being the busiest on record, with more than 4,000 climbing up to the top over just 14 public open days, it’s guaranteed to be a busy one.
Opening times are 10:30am to 4pm; cost Adults £3, Children £1. For safety reasons children under 1m in height are not permitted to climb the tower.