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Publication Account

Event ID 1017684

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


Originally built by Dumfries Town Council in 1748-9 and later heightened and altered, this square tower is the third most ancient and second oldest surviving purpose-built lighthouse in Scotland. It was intended to serve as a guide to navigation in the difficult waters of the Nith Estuary and the inner Solway Firth, where there are treacherous sand-bars. The original beacon-tower was heightened in the 1780s, and was provided with an oil light and reflectors at about the time that its operation and maintenance were taken over by the Nith Navigation Commission upon its inception in 1811. It was further heightened and the light-system improved in 1842-3. Faced with increasing financial burdens, the Nith Navigation Commission was obliged to extinguish the light in 1867, but with the revival of water-borne trade in the late 19th century the lighthouse was restored and brought back into active use in 1894. The red sandstone upperworks of the tower date from this last period, and the brass frame of the last lantern used in the tower is mounted on a concrete plinth nearby. According to local information, the light was last operated in 1936. The tower stands on a low rubble-built platform on the tidal foreshore; it is square on plan, measuring at base 14 ft 6in (4.42m) over walls 2ft 6in (0.76m) thick and in its final form stands to an overall height of more than 59 ft (18m).

Information from ‘Monuments of Industry: An Illustrated Historical Record’, (1986).

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