Farne Islands, Northumberland
Before William Darling became a lighthouse keeper ships would sail, where possible, between the mainland and the Inner Farne, an area away from submerged rocks. However these waters were too shallow for the new bigger vessels. The lighthouse at Brownsman Island could not prevent vessels coming to grief on the dangerous rocks of the Outer Farne and William had to rescue many shipwrecked sailors. He appealed to the authorities to build a new lighthouse, further out to sea.
Longstone Rock is located about 6 miles out in the North Sea, east of Bamburgh. A remote, barren rock scarcely one metre above the sea at high tide, it was considered an ideal location for a new lighthouse.
The Lighthouse was designed and built by Joseph Nelson in 1825 and is a red and white circular tower built of rough stone with iron railings around the lantern gallery. The light originally came from the Argand lamps with 12 burners, parabolic reflectors 21 inches in diameter and 9 inches deep and a catadioptric optical apparatus. The cost of the Lighthouse and the dwellings was approximately £4,771, the lantern alone costing £1,441.
Major alterations were made to the Lighthouse in 1952 and the light was converted to electricity.
Longstone Lighthouse was converted to automatic operation in September 1990 and is now monitored from the Trinity House Operations and Planning Centre at Harwich.