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Maryport Lighthouse

Maryport, Cumberland

Location Guide

It is said that a lighthouse was established at Maryport in 1796.

The old lighthouse was constructed around 1856 (some say 1846), and is an octagonal cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern, mounted on a 1 storey octagonal stone base. Base unpainted, the tower is painted white and  lantern on the top black. So we have an unusual design, a slender column supporting the lantern and stands on a broader base. The small lighthouse was converted to acetylene operation in 1946.

Old Lighthouse  Photo by Alexander P Knapp

In 1996 a new aluminium tower was built by Trinity House, who had taken it over in 1961, and the lighthouse was connected to mains electricity. The square pyramidal white aluminium tower has no lantern. This light had been maintained by Trinity House, but in May 2010 it was announced that the light would be transferred to local management. At the point of writing this (June 2010) it is still listed as a site run by Trinity House on their website.

Sunset photo over New Lighthouse Photo by Nigel Monckton

Both lights can be seen, but you can't get into either, they are very close together on a breakwater. The old one being on a bend in the breakwater and the new one just beyond at the end of the breakwater. The marinas.com aerial photos allow you to see both. Google has a satellite view covering both.

Maryport was originally Ellenfoot

The name was changed by Humphrey Senhouse as he began developing the town as a port, following the example of Whitehaven. In 1749 an Act of Parliament was passed to allow the creation of the present town. Humphrey Senhouse named the new town after his wife Mary. The Senhouse family were landowners in the area and responsible for the development of the town and excavation of its Roman past. It is thought that this was as a part of this development that the first lighthouse was built.

The History of this Port

On one page on the history of Maryport, I discovered:-

"In 1791 the ships, of which there were some 90, averaging about 120 tons each, merely ran into the creek, and were laden as well as it were possible with coal, brought on the backs of pack horses. Lighthouse there was none, a lamp placed by the William Curry above-named, in his shop window, being the only beacon to guide the mariner to port. As times improved, a few planks placed on piles driven into the ground formed pier and quay, whilst the above-named lamp was superseded by one placed on a post. The "business of the harbour was vested solely in the lord of the manor . . . . . and the harbour-master was collector of the dues from the shipping, as well as rates from the town . ." In the year 1833, however, an Act was got placing Maryport under the government of Trustees. The trade having rapidly increased after "the abandonment of the pack-load system of shipping and the substitution of horse and cart," the Trustees felt the necessity of increasing the harbour accommodation. The result was that in 1836 a tidal dock - now the clock basin - was formed, with a swing bridge across the entrance. It had an area of a little over 2 acres."

So from this we might say that the original Maryport light was a light in a shop window, but then once a wooden pier was created,  a lamp was hung on part of that structure and this could well be the 1796 light. It may be therefore that was all that existed until the 1856 Old Lighthouse.

An Aerial view is available from marinas.com

Lighthouse information Grid


Maryport Lighthouse

Current status:

1996:- Currently in use, old lighthouse inactive

Geographic Position:

54 43'.10 N 03 30'.50 W

Grid Reference:


Ceremonial County:



1856:-  See top Photo

1996:- Aluminium pyramid, no lamp on top

Map Link:

Get-A-Map     Multimap

Aerial photo:

The marinas.com aerial photos allow you to see both.

Google has a satellite view   covering both.

Other photos:

General Geograph


1996  photo

Originally built:


1856 is the old lighthouse

Current lighthouse built:


Height of Tower:


1996  4.7m

Height of light above mean sea level:

1856    11m (35ft)

1996    10m

Character of light:

1996 White Flash Every 1.5 Seconds

Character of fog signal:


Range of light:

1996   6 nautical miles

Owned / run by:

Trinity House

Getting there:



From  breakwater wall, path.



Other Useful Websites:

Wiki     Lighthouse Depot on 1856 light

Lighthouse Depot 1996 light

Other Relevant pages:

For more articles, lists and other information see the Lighthouses Section

Lighthouse Map of England and Wales

Featured List of Lighthouses - England and Wales  

List of Minor Lighthouses and Lights - England and Wales



Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Grid or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Keith Park   Section:  Lighthouses Section Key:
Page Ref: Maryport_Lighthouse Topic: Lighthouses Last Updated: 06/2010


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