3rd June 1874

Corbière Lighthouse is used for the first time

When the lighthouse at La Corbiere was first used, it had to be lit by hand. On the afternoon it went into action, it was officially taken over by the Harbours Committee, which was handed the key to its door by Sir John Coode, the Engineer-in-Chief, who declared it perfect and complete in all respects.

The Bailiff, who had accompanied representatives of the Harbours Committee, was invited to be the first person to “officially” enter the tower. Naturally, it had been entered many times before during its construction and inspection, but until 3 June 1874 it had been technically incomplete since the work hadn’t been signed off and the tower handed over.

Formal handing over

The Guernsey Star reported that “the Very Rev. the Dean [of Jersey who was among the party], having offered a short prayer asking the blessing of the Almighty upon the work, the lighthouse was the handed over to the authorities. Jurat Falle next gave the key into the hands of the head-lightkeeper, impressing upon him the importance of attending minutely to the formal and detailed instructions framed for his guidance, and that concluded the proceedings”.

Although separated from Jersey by a third-of-a-mile causeway, the lighthouse didn’t stand entirely alone. It had been constructed in concert with two cottages, on Jersey itself to accommodate the lighthouse keepers when they were not billeted in the lighthouse.

The Illustrated London News reported that “the expeditious performance of [its construction] is due in great part to the use of concrete as the material for the tower. It is the first, but assuredly will not be the last, work of this kind executed in this excellent constructive material”.


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