Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The current structure is the fourth lighthouse (some say it is the fifth - the first was considerably rebuilt after a major storm in its first winter; the challenge was met by four main designs).
The first was an octagonal wooden structure created by Henry Winstanley and the light was first lit on 14 November 1698. It lasted five years before the Great Storm of 1703 erased almost all trace of it on 27 November, killing Winstanley in the process.
The second lighthouse was designed by John Rudyard (or Rudyerd) as a conical wooden structure and was first lit in 1709. It survived until 2 December 1755 when it was destroyed by fire. One of the keepers, Henry Hall (aged 84!) found that a spark from a chimney had set the roof alight. He and his two companions were unable to put the fire out, and they were forced to retreat down the tower until eventually the lighthouse burned down around them. They were rescued the next day, but Henry Hall died about two weeks later and it was found that, while looking up at the fire, he had swallowed molten lead running off the roof. This lead, weighing nearly half a pound, solidified in his stomach and killed him. It is said that this was the first medically documented case of lead poisoning. A report was submitted to the Royal Society by the physician, Dr Edmund Spry , and the piece of lead is now in the collections of the National Museums of Scotland.
The third lighthouse, known as Smeaton's Tower, was perhaps the most notable as it marked a major step forward in the design of such structures. Recommended to the task by the Royal Society, civil engineer John Smeaton pioneered the use of 'hydraulic lime ' (a form of concrete) and developed a technique involving dovetailed blocks of granite in the building of the lighthouse (1756-1759).
His lighthouse (the shape modelled on that of an oak tree) remained in use until 1877 when it was discovered that the rocks upon which it stood were becoming eroded. The lighthouse was dismantled and partially rebuilt at Plymouth Hoe as a memorial. The foundations remain on the Eddystone Rocks, close to the new (and more solid) foundations of the current lighthouse. The height of the tower while on the Eddystone was 59ft 2ins (18m). Its diameter at the base is 25ft 8ins (7.8m) and the diameter at the top is 16ft 8ins (5m).
The lighthouse inspired the shanty that begins
- 'My father was the keeper o' the Eddystone light.
- He married a mermaid one fine night.
- From this union there came three:
- A porpoise and a porgy and the other was me...'
|Smeatons Tower atop Plymouth Hoe|
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details