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Bishop Rock cover

ISBN 978 0 906294 69 7. 184 pages, 86 illustrations. Soft back. £16.00

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Bishop Rock Lighthouse

by Elisabeth Stanbrook

Designed to protect one of the most dangerous stretches of sea in the British Isles, Bishop Rock lighthouse is exposed to the awesome power of the unrestrained Atlantic Ocean at the very edge of the dramatic Western Rocks on the Isles of Scilly. It stands as a tribute to an amazing feat of Victorian engineering by three generations of the Douglass family working for Trinity House.

The workforce struggled with great skill, courage and tenacity, in often dangerous conditions. Supplies of building materials, the accommodation for the workmen, initially on the remote rocky islet of Rosevear, and communications were challenging in the extreme. The first lighthouse, constructed from iron, fell victim to a violent storm in 1850, and was replaced by a granite tower in 1858. The relentless battering by sea and weather resulted in it being strengthened in the 1880s.

This book tells the story of the lighthouse, its construction and steady improvement, the workers who built and maintained it, the lighthouse keepers who ensured it was always available, and of the relief boatmen who provided the vital link. Drawing extensively on original documents, contemporary photographs and plans, the book publishes many here for the first time.

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Reviews:

This painstakingly researched book is hugely interesting. ... an attractive and well-written book, scholarly in its detail and human in its focus. The Islander Spring 2009

A definitive work on this astonishing lighthouse it would tax anyone to better. The Lamp (Journal of the Association of Lighthouse Keepers)

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