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Measuring 177 feet, the Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse sits on top of a 245 feet high hill, providing those adventurous enough to climb its 185 steps with breathtaking views of the island.
Located in Southampton parish, it is reportedly the world’s oldest cast iron lighthouse. Because steel was not yet available to be used for construction when it was built in 1846, it is also one of the few of its type still in service. The purpose of this lighthouse was to try and reduce the number of wreckage in the parishes waters: in the previous decade, 39 vessels crashed on the reefs that goes up top 16 miles out to sea at the western tip of the island.
The beam of a 1000-watt bulb can be seen by ships up to 40 miles out to sea, planes can spot it while flying at 10,000 feet and 120 miles away, and finally the light can be seen on the horizon 26 miles away. The lens – the same since 1904 – that contains the bulb does a revolution each 50 seconds, meaning the lighthouse emits a 2-second flash each 10 seconds. The light was first produced by four circular wicks in a burner, replaced by a five-wick one in 1904 before electricity took over in 1952.
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