Wyre Light Lighthouse

Wyre Light Lighthouse

The Wyre Light Lighthouse is one of three in Fleetwood. They worked together to guide ships to shore along the channel of the River Wyre. Thanks to Mark Kimber who took this excellent close-up photo (above) of the Wyre Light while he was out sailing in April 2015.

Situated nearly two miles off Fleetwood, the now disused lighthouse marks the entrance to the River Wyre channel.

Wyre Light, seen out in the channel of the River Wyre. Photo taken 6 Feb 2012
Wyre Light, seen out in the channel of the River Wyre. Photo taken 6 Feb 2012

Fleetwood is unique in having three lighthouses – to guide ships safely along the channel. Ships approaching land would line them up and know they then had safe passage into the Wyre estuary to dock safely at Fleetwood.

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This brilliant bit of aerial footage was filmed on 28 May 2016 with a Phantom 4 drone by Paul Ashworth. We’d like to thank Paul for sharing it with us.

Aerial film of Wyre Light lighthouse, Fleetwood

Wyre Light – Collapsing into the Sand…

Anyone who is interested in the Wyre Light and its history will know that it’s been at threat of collapse for some time.

This excellent photo (below) was taken by Rachel Lane on Saturday 22 July 2017. It’s probably the last photo taken of it in an upright position.

Wyre Light, photo taken by Rachel Lane on 22.7.17
Wyre Light, photo taken by Rachel Lane on 22.7.17

However, a storm on 26 July 2017 caused it to shift to one side. It finally started to fall over. That marked a sad day for Fleetwood. Here’s how it was reported by BBC North West –

Wyre Light lighthouse, collapsing into the sea after a storm

Trying to Preserve History…

Local people and Fleetwood Civic Society have spent considerable time and a lot of effort over the years, trying to establish who the owners of the Wyre Light are.

The ambition was to hopefully start the process of preserving at least some of the unique landmark for future generations. It was hoped that the structure could be surveyed then the legs stabilised. But in order to do that who actually owns it needed to be established. Do you know?

An unsolved puzzle…

Lancashire County Council, the Duchy of Lancaster, Trinity House and ABP have all denied ownership of the structure. It must be owned by someone! Even Historic England refused to acknowledge its importance when Fleetwood Civic Society requested that it be listed.

But the puzzling question is, back in the days when it was maintained by the railway company, who did they send the bill to?

After the Storm

George Booth took the next photo of Wyre Light, collapsing into the sand, on Saturday 23 September 2017.

George said “It’s very sad looking at the state of it now. Only the steel leg that was replaced many years ago and one wooden leg remain attached. The wooden one is split, so I don’t think it will be long before it breaks completely.”

WARNING: Please DO NOT attempt to walk out to Wyre Light. The sands are very dangerous and there is a real risk of loss of life.

Wyre Light collapsing into the sand, photo taken by George Booth on 23.9.17
Wyre Light collapsing into the sand, photo taken by George Booth on 23.9.17

Unique History

Wyre Light was built in 1839-40 by Alexander Mitchell. It stands offshore where the Irish Sea meets the estuary of the River Wyre on the northeast corner of North Wharf and Lune Deep.

It’s first name was ‘Port Fleetwood Lighthouse’.

Photo: Lancashire County Library and Information Service
Photo: Lancashire County Library and Information Service

Fleetwood is unique in having three lighthouses.

Wyre Light is unique in its own right because it was the first screw pile lighthouse to be built and lit in Britain. It originally sat on seven screw piles, each driven into the seabed.

In fact it was the first completed screw pile structure in the world. As such it has a huge historical significance.

When Wyre Light was built it was 40′ or 12m tall. The platform supported a two storey building which housed the keeper who manned the lantern.

How Wyre Light would have looked when it was operational. Photo sent in by Maureen Blair
How Wyre Light would have looked when it was operational. Photo sent in by Maureen Blair

The beacon was replaced with an automatic one after the fire in 1948. In 1979 was replaced by a lit buoy.

Design Drawing

The illustration below is Captain Denham’s design drawing of how the Lighthouse was to be built and erected on the Sea Reach of Wyre, leading into Port Fleetwood. As erected on seven Mitchell’s Screw Piles. It was shared with us by Chris Hudson.

Design drawing of Wyre Light
Design drawing of Wyre Light

A fire in 1948 destroyed the building. Over the years much of the structure has been damaged by rough seas and lost, leaving behind derelict remains.

The Wyre Light was 175 years old in 2015.

Wyre Light Lantern

The large copper and glass lantern from the Wyre Light is on display at Fleetwood Museum in the Harriet Boat Hall.

Wyre Light Lantern

This was the main light on the structure after the disastrous fire in 1948, and was used until 1979 when the ‘Wyre Light’ was replaced with a lit buoy.

The Lantern was battery operated, and the fog horn worked off gas. It stands around 4 feet tall.

Wreck Trek

Some years ago, the RNLI took an annual guided walk out to the Wyre Light. A very popular event, it attracted hundreds of people who went out into the Bay to see the lighthouse and a landscape you don’t normally see.

However, in recent years the sands have become unsafe. The Wreck Trek hasn’t taken place for several years now.

Wyre Light
Wyre Light on a previous Wreck Trek (Please don’t attempt to walk out to the Wyre Light)

Bring the Past to Life

Has this article whetted your appetite to find out more?

See lots of fascinating photos of Wyre Light over the years. Read real stories of the people who worked there and were connected to it. Local fishermen and photographers also share amazing shots of the lighthouse in the group.

Wyre Light
Wyre Light (Photo: Mark Kimber)

While you’re here…

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