Five Fun Facts: a Unique Lighthouse

The Unique Nine-Legged Lighthouse at Burnham on Sea

Nine wooden legs 

The waters of the River Parrett meet the Bristol Channlighthouse_600_800el at Burnham on Sea. Notoriously  dangerous, with a huge range of 40ft, the tide in the area is the second highest in the world. The builders of the nine-legged Low Lighthouse also had to contend with shifting sands and mud-flats that would soon destroy the foundations of a conventional stone building. Wooden stilts were an ingenious solution that make the lighthouse unique in the UK.

Victorian ingenuity

The Victorians built the Low Lighthouse in 1832, a time of enormous interest in technology and travel,  to replace the Round Tower. This was  a tall building originally situated next to the Church, funded by the local  curate on condition the Burnham fishermen and residents paid for its upkeep.

The Low Lighthouse fell out of use in the 20th century but was recommissioned in 1983 and now flashes every 7.5 seconds.

Leading lights

The Victorians built another lighthouse, the Tower or High Lighthouse,  at the same time, and the two buildings worked together to lead navigators through the River Parrett. The Tower is now a private house.

Numbers

lighthouse-550The Grade 11 listed Low Lighthouse is a wooden square, constructed on strong oak legs, with a single, dramatic, vertical red stripe. Set at a height of 36ft, the light reaches 23ft above the high spring tides and shines out over 9 miles.

 

Murder at the Lighthouse

The Low Lighthouse stars in the first Exham on Sea Mystery. Libby Forest finds a body on the beach under the lighthouse and discovers her unexpected gift for investigation, helped by Bear, the gigantic Carpathian Sheepdog and Fuzzy, her aloof marmalade cat.
Read more about the Exham on Sea Mysteries…

 

More facts and figures about the Burnham on Sea lighthouses at the uklighthouse website 

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Storytelling: The Globes

Every story tells another story.  I wonder what this one means for you?

In a tiny white house in the forest, lived a mother and her three sons. One day, the oldest child asked, “What will I be when I grow up?” 

His mother opened a black velvet bag. Out rolled a globe. It dazzled the boy, glittering blue and silver. He gasped.“It’s the sea,” he cried. He saw the ocean stretching out before him, meeting a distant horizon. He heard gulls cry and smelled the salty spray.

His mother put his globe away.“When you are grown,” she said, “you may look in it again.”

When her second son was five, he asked,“What will I be when I grow up?”

His mother opened a black, velvet bag. Out rolled a globe, pulsing with a deep light.“It’s purple,” whispered her son, “like the sky at night. Why, I can see the stars.” He shivered with delight in the cold night air.

His mother put his globe away. When you are grown,” she said, “you may look in it again.”

Her third son reached his fifth birthday.“What will I be when I grow up?” he asked.

His mother opened a black, velvet bag. Out rolled a globe. “It’s green, like the grass,” he cried, “and golden yellow like the fields at harvest.” He thought he heard the wind, rustling the ears of corn. He felt the warmth of the sun on his face.

His mother put his globe away. “When you are grown,” she said, “you may look in it again.”

Many years later the three sons sat around their mother’s table on her birthday.

“Do you remember,” asked the eldest son, proud in his Navy uniform, “the globe you let me see when I was five? It showed me I should be a sailor. How did you know you should choose a blue globe?”

“Do you remember,” asked the second son, the famous astronomer, “you let me see the stars in the sky in my globe. It showed me I should explore the universe. How did you know you should choose a purple and silver globe?”

“Do you remember,” asked the third son, smiling at his muddy boots by the door, “you let me see the green of the grass and the golden harvest in my globe. It showed me I should be a farmer. How did you know you should choose a green and yellow globe?”

“We’re grown now,” they said. “We have wives and children of our own. May we see our globes again?” Their mother showed them one black, velvet bag.

“Only one?” They were puzzled. “Which globe is it?” Out rolled one pure, crystal globe. For a moment it lay, flat and dull, until the light caught it. Then, all the colours of the rainbow spilled across the table.

“I could not choose for you,” their mother said. “How could I know which paths you would take? But when each of you looked in the globe, it showed you what you had already chosen.”