Douglas Head
Douglas Head lighthouse
photos: © Peter Killey

Isle of Man

Commissioners' Flag of the NLB
In Salutem Omnium
For the Safety of All
Vlag NLB
Ensign of the NLB
Lighthouse Map Nightview Map
- Standard + Radar Beacon - Discontinued - Page Under Construction
East Coast North Coast Southwest Coast West Coast Inner Hebrides Outer Hebrides Orkney Islands Shetland Islands Isle of Man Calf of Man Chicken Rock Douglas Head Langness Maughold Head Point of Ayre
NLB Stevensons Technics Useful Links
Accountability
Update: 29-03-2024

Compiled by:
@ Bob Schrage

page QR_code
Calf of Man - New
Chicken Rock
Douglas Head
Langness
Maughold Head
Point of Ayre

Place of the lighthouse

The Douglas Head Lighthouse is a lighthouse at Douglas Head, a high cliff south east of the harbour of the largest town, Douglas on the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man is located between England and Ireland. The name Douglas Head means Blackstream, (Dubh - black and Glais - stream). Some Manx men claim it is derived from two rivers, the Dubh and Glas, the black and the green from the Greu rivers. The first lighthouse was established in 1832 and was under the control of the Isle of Man Harbor Board.

Building of the Lighthouses

There were originally two lights: one on the pier of the habour of Douglas, which had to remain a harbour light and the second light on Douglas Head, this light being the only sea light between the Calf of Man and Point of Ayre, a distance of 40 nautical miles. Here we talk about the Douglas Head lighthouse. The first light on this site was established by the Isle of Man Harbour commissioners in 1832. No trace now remains of Robert Stevenson's Douglas Head Lighthouse at the entrance to Douglas Harbour on the Isle of Man. The lighthouse stopped exhibiting a light after 1850 and when the Northern Lighthouse Board assumed responsibility, it was demolished and replaced by a new tower built in 1857-59 by his sons David Lillie and Thomas Stevenson. In 1855, the Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty requested the observations of the Commissioners on the establishment of a light - other than a Harbour Light - at Douglas Harbour, in the Isle of Man. A request also came from a Mr Cabbin (presumably of the local Harbour Authority) to have a light established at Douglas Harbour. From information gleaned from a Parliamentary Report, it appeared that a light did exist at Douglas, but that it had, for some unknown reason, not been exhibited since 1850. There were originally two lights: one on the pier, which had to remain a harbour light and the second light on Douglas Head, this light being the only sea light between the Calf of Man and Point of Ayre, distance of 40 miles.

Prior to 1857, the light at Douglas Head was under the jurisdiction of the Commissioners of Douglas Harbour from which date the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouse took over Douglas Head Lighthouse.

Warning systems (Light, Fog horn, Radar Beacon)

http://www.lightkeepersjourney.com/douglas-notes.html
Lighthouse keepers of Douglas Head
Names with brackets (Year) indicates keeper was there - no other information available

YearFrom StationKeeper NameTo StationYear

J. Hall (1864)
G. Boreman (1864)
D. Douglas (1894)
P. Anderson Stornaway 1892
1892Stornoway T. Sutherland
W.J. Milne Chicken Rock 1894
1897Isle of May J. Grierson Dubh Artach 1901
A. McGaw (1903)
1914 J. Hislop Chicken Rock 1919
A.W. MacDonald Skervuile Rock 1926
1926Bell Rock A. Black Start Point 1931
1927 T. Shaw 1932
A. MacDonald Douglas Head 1932
J. Tulloch (1928)
1929Langness G.L. Lauenson Buchan Ness 1935
1935Chicken Rock A.Davidson
J. Mackie Retired 1937
1937Flannan Isles W. Beggs
J. Sutherland (1937)
G. Combe
1943 T.J.M. Hutchison Mucckle Flugga 1949
R.R. Scott (1951)
1952 A. Cormack Deceased 1956
W. Hislop Ailsa Craig 1953
1953Rattray Head J. Christian
A. Coombe Bell Rock 1960
1960 B. Sand
L. Anderson Calf of Man 1974
1974Rattray Head A. Hislop Retired 1977
1977SLK J. Wilson Skerryvore 1981
J.B. Carruthers Corsewall 1974
1977Killantrigan M.B. Pearson Rinns of Islay 1981
1981Maughold Head A.W. Crebben Retired 1986
1981Dunnet Head A. Henderson Sanda Island 1984

Local ALK
1974 P.C. Fletcher Redundant 1975

Attendant
1986 P. Fletcher
J. Cowley Redundant 2004

Retained lighthouse Keeper
2004 D. Fox

1832 Built by Douglas Harbour Commissioners Fixed white light with 8 reflectors. 1859 Transferred to Northern Lighthouse Board 1892 Complete rebuild 11/4/1892 Start made to demolish lighthouse houses New tower built and equipped. 1/11/1892 After old light was extinguished,lantern and equipment removed tower demolished to a level 10 foot below level of lantern New tower and light bought into operation that evening. Old tower then completely demolished and new houses built Lightkeepers and families resided in Douglas until building works completed Dioptic 2nd order lens FL(6) 30 secs 6 bulls eye lens plus 180 degree dioptric spherical mirror lens prism 2003 Brass Plate in Lightroom Removed when light automated Dioptric second-order flashing white light,showing a number of flashes-six-in quick succession during a period of about 15 seconds,followed by a period of darkness of about 15 seconds. Designed by Messrs Stevenson.Civl Engineers.Edinburgh. Constructed by Messrs Barbier et Cie.Paris and Messrs Jas.Dove and Co.Edinburgh. David A.Stevenson.Engineer to the Board. 1892 Dioptric apparatus by Barbier & Co (Paris) 4 wick concentric burner wind every 30 minutes Originally had a wick light but sometime after 1903 a Paraffin Vapour Burner was installed 1979 250 watt Mercury Vapour lamp replaces Chance Brothers 55mm pv burner Clockwork drive retained 1/4/1986 Automated AGA PRB21A Gearless drive + Sealed Beam array installed FL 10 sec Range 24 miles Residential property sold . 18/1/18 Sealite Lanterns Type SL-300-1D5-2 Nominal Range 15 miles Lantern 2018 Sealite Lanterns Type SL-300-1D5-2 Operational 18/1/2018 All Lanterns flash in normal operation One lantern section gives nominal range 15 miles LED Lantern flash 2018 1986 Tinted perspex screen introduced The Dioptic 2nd order lens gave a range of 16 miles When sealed beam unit fitted in 1986 increased range to 24 miles Some Douglas residents complained of increased light intensity So perspex screens added 2018 Nominal range reduced to 15 miles but with all four units operational still a bright light - So screens retained 1908 Reed Type Fog signal established All building and running expenses including salary of a new second assistant keeper met by Isle of Man Harbour Board. Shows where original fog signal was moved about 120 yards after complaints about "Moaning Minnie" (pre-1912?) Diaphone-Position 2003 1938 New Fog Signal installed at a cost of about £2,000 to Douglas Harbour Board Plus maintenance charges of about £300 per year 1938 Fog Signal in the square outbuilding. 1938 Lister engines two (18/2 series) Diesel engines run on a paraffin/oil mix (4 gallons paraffin to ½ pint of oil) Reavell compressors Diaphone Every 20 sec. 1975 Discontinued. PLK house/Engineroom reverts to Isle of Man Harbour Board

1892 Dioptic 2nd order lens FL(6) 30 secs 6 bulls eye lens plus 180 degree dioptric spherical mirror lens Dioptric apparatus by Barbier & Co (Paris) 4 wick concentric burner wind every 30 minutes 1986 AGA PRB21 Gearless Drive Sealed beam 18/1/18 2*Sealite Lantern type SL-300=1D5-2 Mounted Bi-form Fog Diaphone discontinued 1975 Lister engines CS 18/2 (1938) Reavell Compressors Fog signal re-sited (1938) Old lens Manx museum 1864 John W Hall PLK George Boreham ALK The lighthouse was automated in 1986.

associated engineer David Alan Stevenson date 1892 era Victorian | category Lighthouse | reference SC390747 ICE reference number HEW 833 photo Paul Dunkerley The present tower is the second on the site — both are linked to the famous Stevenson family of lighthouse builders. The first light on this site was established by the Isle of Man Harbour commissioners, 1832-3. The tower was designed by brothers David and Thomas Stevenson, sons of Robert Stevenson. It rose 31.7m above high water mark and was allegedly visible from Blackpool Tower, more than 100km away across the Irish Sea, although its official reach was 24km. It seems the light was unlit after 1850 and its loss was felt, as the need for a light prompted the transfer of responsibility to the Northern Lighthouse Board (1st August 1859), based in Edinburgh. The commissioners of the Board had a new tower built, possibly because the old structure was unsound. They seem to have built it right alongside the old one, which was demolished. The second tower is most likely by David Alan Stevenson, David's son, and was completed in 1892. David Alan had been working on the two Isle of Man Point of Ayre lighthouses (1890-91). The lighthouse is 20m high and sits at an elevation of 32m. Various buildings and a wall surround it. The light was automated in 1986.

The total elevation is 32 meters above sea-level. The white tower is 20 meters in height and its base is at an elevation of 12 meters. The lighthouse staircase has 71 steps and the light has an average range of 24 nautical miles (44 km). The lantern is composed of eight brilliant reflectors made of pure silver built in 1831. The light flashes white every ten seconds.

In 1855 the Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty requested the installation of a lighthouse in addition to the harbor light at Douglas Harbour. A parliamentary report at the time revealed that the light already existing in Douglas had been out of operation since 1850. There were originally two lighthouses, one on the pier, which had to remain a harbour light, and the Douglas Head Lighthouse. The Douglas Head Lighthouse is the only sea light between the Calf of Man and the Point of Ayre - about 64 kilometers away. After the establishment of the new lighthouse in 1857, jurisdiction transferred from the Commissioners of Douglas Harbour to the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouse. The lighthouse is still run to this day by the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouse, who also operate the Northern lighthouse on the Isle of Man.

The lighthouse became automated in 1986. Recently, a new public footpath was constructed by the Commissioners from the top of Port Skillion down to the Lighthouse for the benefit and enjoyment of tourists and sightseers.

Douglas Head Lighthouse before 1982

The lighthouse before 1892

Structural problems required the lighthouse to be rebuilt in 1892. The foghorn, known locally as 'Moaning Minnie', was added in 1908. It caused many complaints in Douglas, and it was later moved around the head to reduce the upset it caused to local people.

The tower is 12-metre high. The light has two double banked units of twelve lamps mounted facing in opposite directions, rotated by an AGA PRB21 Gearless Drive Unit operating at three revolutions-per-minute, thus giving a flash in any given direction every ten seconds.

Only eight out of the twelve lamps on each face are used in normal operation. They are rated at 30 volts 200 watts, but run at 25 volts 150 watts to provide increased service life. The other four lamps are 6 volts 28.5 watts and are used only as emergency lamps. Such emergencies may be loss of mains electric power or, far less likely, the complete failure of the main lamp banks. The four lamps in each of the two main banks are connected in series, which gives each unit the same intensity; however, if one lamp fails, all four in that bank go out. The four emergency lamps on each face are also connected in series in sets of two. Power is provided by emergency batteries. The emergency light is a 200 millimeters lantern mounted on the balcony rail.

The kighthouse is fully automated since 1986, the light is monitored by the Northern Lighthouse Commissioners at their Northern Lighthouse Board Monitoring Centre in Edingbourgh. Initially after automatation an attendant from the Northern Board would visit the lighthouse on a fortnightly basis to test system procedures and the general physical condition of the building. However, since September 2004, the Retained Lighthouse Keeper of the Isle of Man has replaced the attendant and visits now on a monthly basis. In addition, lighthouse technicians visit the Douglas Head Light once or twice annually to modify and update the system equipment if necessary.

Douglas Head 1832 Built by Douglas Harbour Commissioners Fixed white light with 8 reflectors. 1859 Transferred to Northern Lighthouse Board 1892 Complete rebuild 11/4/1892 Start made to demolish lighthouse houses New tower built and equipped. 1/11/1892 After old light was extinguished,lantern and equipment removed tower demolished to a level 10 foot below level of lantern New tower and light bought into operation that evening. Old tower then completely demolished and new houses built Lightkeepers and families resided in Douglas until building works completed Dioptic 2nd order lens FL(6) 30 secs 6 bulls eye lens plus 180 degree dioptric spherical mirror lens prism 2003 Dioptric apparatus by Barbier & Co (Paris) 4 wick concentric burner wind every 30 minutes Originally had a wick light but sometime after 1903 a Paraffin Vapour Burner was installed 1979 250 watt Mercury Vapour lamp replaces Chance Brothers 55mm pv burner Clockwork drive retained 1/4/1986 Automated AGA PRB21A Gearless drive + Sealed Beam array installed FL 10 sec Range 15 Nmiles 18/1/18 Sealite Lanterns Type SL-300-1D5-2 Range 15 miles Residential property sold 1908 Reed Type Fog signal established All building and running expenses including salary of a new second assistant keeper met by Isle of Man Harbour Board. Shows where original fog signal was moved about 120 yards after complaints about "Moaning Minnie" (pre-1912?) Diaphone-Position 2003 1938 New Fog Signal installed at a cost of about £2,000 to Douglas Harbour Board Plus maintenance charges of about £300 per year 1938 Fog Signal in the square outbuilding. 1938 Lister engines two (18/2 series) Diesel engines run on a paraffin/oil mix (4 gallons paraffin to ½ pint of oil) Reavell compressors Diaphone Every 20 sec. 1975 Discontinued. PLK house/Engineroom reverts to Isle of Man Harbour Board

Blog of Sarah Kerr on www.uklightousetour.com

1938 New Fog Signal installed at a cost of about £2,000 to Douglas Harbour Board Plus maintenance charges of about £300 per year 1938 Fog Signal in the square outbuilding. 1938 Lister engines two (18/2 series) Diesel engines run on a paraffin/oil mix (4 gallons paraffin to ½ pint of oil) Reavell compressors Diaphone Every 20 sec. 1975 Discontinued. PLK house/Engineroom reverts to Isle of Man Harbour Board
NLB Douglas Head Douglas Head Lighthouse is located at Douglas Head on the Isle of Man. It was established in 1857 by the engineering brothers David and Thomas Stevenson. History In 1855, the Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty requested the observations of the Commissioners on the establishment of a light – other than a Harbour Light – at Douglas Harbour, in the Isle of Man. A request also came from a Mr Cabbin (presumably of the local Harbour Authority) to have a light established at Douglas Harbour. From information gleaned from a Parliamentary Report, it appeared that a light did exist at Douglas, but that it had, for some unknown reason, not been exhibited since 1850. There were originally two lights: one on the pier, which had to remain a harbour light and the second light on Douglas Head, this light being the only sea light between the Calf of Man and Point of Ayre, distance of 40 miles. Prior to 1857, the light at Douglas Head was under the jurisdiction of the Commissioners of Douglas Harbour from which date the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouse took over Douglas Head Lighthouse. The name Douglas Head means Blackstream, (Dubh – black and Glais – stream). Some manx men maintain it was derived from two rivers, the Dubh and Glas, the black and the green of Greu Rivers. The lighthouse was automated in 1986.

Douglas Head


A4770

Character: Fl W 10s 32m 15M
(fl. 0.5s - ec. 9,5s)

Douglas Head lighthouse
Lightcharacter of Douglas Head (click to enlarge)
Engineers: David Lillie Stevenson (1815-1886)
: Thomas Stevenson (1818-1887)

Lat, Lon: 54°08.599' N, 004°27.947' W

Established: 1832, Rebuilt November 1, 1892
Character: Flashing White every 10 sec.
Range: 15 NM ~ 28 km
Elevation: 32 meter above sealevel
Tower: 20 meters, 71 steps to the top
Init. Costs: £ ?.
Econ. Costs*: £ ?.
*) According to: MeasuringWorth.com

Automated: April 1, 1986
Last Keepers: PLK - A.W. Crebbin
: ALK -
: ALK -
Fog horn: Established 1908,
: Localy named - 'Monaining Minnie'
: Diaphone - 1 blast ever 20s.
: Discontinued 1975

Status: Operationel
Authority: Northern Lighthouse Board
Remarks: Manx PBR149 - 05/11/1993

Douglas Head Lighthouse

Douglas Head Lighthouse

References:
Blog of Sarah Kerr- www.uklighthousetour.com