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List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

Name: Black Nore Lighthouse

List Entry Number: 1400195


Black Nore Lighthouse, BLACK NORE POINT

The lighthouse is situated at Black Nore Point, Portishead centred on NGR ST 344503 176499.

The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: North Somerset
District Type: Unitary Authority
Parish: Portishead and North Weston

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II

Date first listed: 24-Jun-2011

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Asset Groupings

This List entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List Entry Description

Summary of Building

The lighthouse at Black Nore Point was erected by Trinity House in 1894; it was subsequently altered in the mid-C20 when it was automated, and further modernised in circa 2000.

Reasons for Designation

Black Nore Lighthouse, constructed in 1894 for Trinity House, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: Architectural and historic interest: as a late-C19 pre-fabricated lighthouse and a rare example nationally that was originally fuelled by gas Degree of intactness: the lighthouse has been little altered externally, although navigational equipment within the interior has been replaced over the years including the winding and drive mechanisms Group value: it groups visually with the Grade II listed former National Nautical School to the south-east Setting: as an iconic structure and a significant reminder of Britain's maritime history.


The Severn Estuary off Black Nore Point, Portishead has the second highest tide fall in the world. In 1838 the SS Great Western ran aground off Nore Point, highlighting the need for a lighthouse. Black Nore Lighthouse was erected in 1894 by Trinity House as a navigation aid for shipping moving into and out of Avonmouth Docks and the River Avon. It was constructed of cast iron with an open framework of vertical ribs and struts supporting the tower itself and was sited on an outcrop that was built up with masonry to form a platform. In the mid- to late C19 there was some enthusiasm for building cast-iron lighthouses, which were cheaper than masonry towers. Maplin Sands (a screw-pile lighthouse), on the Essex coast, was the first sited offshore in 1838-41; but the instability of Fastnet Lighthouse, a cast-iron tower with an inner lining of brick erected in 1854, confirmed the view that this kind of structure was better suited to less exposed situations: the relative shelter of the Severn Estuary was considered a suitable location.

Black Nore Lighthouse originally had a gas-powered lamp, with gas supplied via a pipeline from the mains to a storage tank. The mechanisms, which used weights to keep the optical system rotating, were hand operated and had to be wound daily. Members of the Ashford family living at nearby Black Nore Farm were responsible for operating the lamp until it was automated in the mid-C20. The lighthouse was converted to automatic electric operation in 1941 and could be switched off during air raids. It was further modernised in circa 2000 when the winding and drive mechanisms were replaced by an electric motor. It was taken out of service in the autumn of 2010.


MATERIALS: Riveted cast-iron frame, painted white.

PLAN: A tapering, round tower of three stages that stands about 11 metres high.

EXTERIOR: The tall, first stage has openwork canted stanchions with x-frame ties or tension rods; the latticework construction was employed to reduce wind resistance. An external iron ladder leads to an entrance hatch underneath the second stage. This stage has porthole openings and a gallery with metal railings which is supported by angled brackets. Above the gallery, the lantern stage has a fixed rectangular window of storm panes with V-profile metal glazing bars. The tower has a domed cupola cap surmounted by a ventilator.

INTERIOR: Not inspected.

Selected Sources

Lighthouse Factsheets: Black Nore Lighthouse , accessed from http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/engw.htm
Lighthouse Factsheets: Black Nore Lighthouse , accessed from http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/engw.htm
Title: Map of Site of Proposed Lighthouse Source Date: 1892 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:


National Grid Reference: ST4450376499

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This copy shows the entry on 24-Apr-2018 at 10:04:31.