Souter Lighthouse

A National Trust property between Sunderland and South Shields. It was built in 1871 on Lizard Point and was the first lighthouse anywhere in the world to use carbon arcs powered by alternating current electricity which was generated by a steam engine. The light had a range of twenty miles.

The rocky Durham coast was treacherous for shipping. There were twenty shipwrecks between Sunderland and South Shields in 1869. The light was decommissioned in 1988 as it was no longer needed because of the advance of modern navigation technology.

Souter Lighthouse also had a foghorn for use when the visibility was poor. The horns sounded for five-seconds every 30 seconds. Soon after the lighthouse began operating Marsden Colliery opened and a new village of 135 houses was built immediately next to the lighthouse. It must have been a nightmare trying to get to sleep with the foghorn as a neighbour.


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