Friday, 3 January 2014

South Point Lighthouse

The last time I visited my friends on the south coast of the island near to the South Point Lighthouse, I made a mental note that I would write a post about this landmark.  I have posted about it here before.
New Year's Day was the day to keep my promise.
My friends live on Lighthouse Road, and as soon as you turn into their street, this is the view that greets you.

South Point Lighthouse
 (aka Gordon's Lighthouse)

South Point Lighthouse - up close and personal
Majestic beacon of light

Barbados has four historic lighthouses and South Point Lighthouse is one of them.
Located at Atlantic Shores, just east of Miami Beach, in the southern parish of Christ Church, it is the only lighthouse that is still operational.
 It holds the distinction of being the first lighthouse on the island.
Designed by the famous Scottish engineer, Alexander Gordon, the lighthouse was first exhibited at London's Great Hyde Park Exhibition in 1851. It was then dismantled and shipped to Barbados in parts, and then reassembled on the southernmost point of the island.  It went into operation on April 12, 1852.

 Originally one of three "pre-cast" light houses made entirely of cast iron, it is the last one of its kind in existence, and is therefore a national treasure.  However, I am disheartened at its decayed and neglected look.

 South Point Lighthouse was  later joined by other lighthouses located at Ragged Point in St.Philip, Needhams Point in Carlisle Bay and Harrison Point in St. Lucy.
These sentinels of the sea were used many years ago by sailors to help guide their ships safely at night, and even though today not used for this purpose, are still a fundamental aspect of Barbados' landscape.

Still listed as active, the lighthouse is considered more of a national landmark and tourist attraction, with its grounds (but not tower) open to the public.

Active lighthouses in Barbados are operated by the Barbados Port, Inc., but recommendations for regular protective repainting of the exterior have not been kept up to date, and are in danger of deterioration.

The South Point Lighthouse has been depicted on the reverse of the 5 cent coin since 1973.
This landmark, with its red and white horizontal bands, can be easily spotted from many points along the south coast of the island. 

Lighthouse Facts
Tower Height: 89ft/27m in height with lantern and gallery
Height of Focal Plane: 145ft/44m above sea level
Characteristic: Three white flashes every 30 secs with a range of 18 miles

ARLHS BAR-004; Admiralty J5806;NGA 15100

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from Volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 110. 

For the technocrats, I found some additional info online just for you in an article entitled, "Things that Matter:Save our Magnificent Lighthouses written by Henry S. Fraser in our local Advocate newspaper back in 2011.
"It’s equipped with a Mark 2 rotating power beacon, with an LC 6 automatic Lampchanger, photoelectric switch, control panel with test switch, constant volt battery charge and 6-volt lead/acid batteries. (Data shared by Martin DaSilva of Innotech Services Limited, who carried out restoration of the lighthouse in 2004, restoring it to its pristine glory.)"

Google has a satellite view.


  1. For those of us living in a maritime environment and who travel by boat a lot lighthouses have a very special place in our hearts and minds. It does seem a great shame that it's looking so bedraggled. I don't suppose though, that there is any particular political will to spend money on it.

  2. I understand that repairs are scheduled to take place but there are no funds at present to do so.
    All these things should be allocated in the yearly budget of the minister's portfolio under which it falls, but I guess after elections and all the other financial outlays, the lighthouses have to wait for's a darn shame.


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