Beachy Head lighthouse turns 111-years-old

Photos by Rob Wassell. Visit
Photos by Rob Wassell. Visit

It has not been stayed in for more than 30 years.

But Beachy Head lighthouse lit up the waves this week as painters moved in to revamp its iconic red and white stripes - just in time for its 111th birthday.

The Keep the Stripes Campaign Team raised £27,000 over two years to give the lighthouse its stripes back after Trinity House, the General Lighthouse Authority, said it could not justify the costs.

And as these fantastic pictures by Save the Stripes team member, Rob Wassell, show - it hasn’t been your usual paint job.

Sussex Blast Cleaning from Hailsham, which is undertaking the project, hired a highly skilled abseil team to descend from the balcony down the tower to jetwash and paint the structure.

The workers will stay in the lighthouse for three weeks as there is no gurantee they can get on and off the lighthouse again with changeable weather and sea conditions. Rob said it was symbolic to see the lights of the lighthouse, which became automated in the 1980s, shining once more across the waves at night. And a touch of humour was added to the work this week, when workers painted the words: ‘If any humans still exist send beer’ on the building.

Rob also said the lighthouse turned 111 on Wednesday (October 2). He said: “It’s the Beachy Head Lighthouse’s birthday on the October 2 as this is the date in 1902 that the light from the lantern first shone.

The lighthouse is going to be 111 years old. I think its so fitting that it will have its new livery for its birthday.

The Beachy Head Lighthouse became automated on 28th June 1982 which means that people haven’t stayed on the lighthouse for over 30 years - until now that is. I felt it was so symbolic that the inside lights of the lighthouse were shining once again that I took some long exposure photos. I felt so fortunate to be able to catch this unique and historic moment.”

On Wednesday (September 18) the first coat of red paint was applied on the lantern and on Thursday (September 19) and Friday (September 20) they were able to make a start on the stripes and also work on the door frame to the front door. It is hoped the paint will last for the next ten years.

The team at first were unable to get on to the lighthouse due to bad weather but they were able to finally unload everything on Friday (September 13).

For more information visit Rob’s website at