Bressay Lighthouse

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Old postcard of Bressay Lighthouse - about 1950. The base of the former foghorn now supports one of Lerwick Port Authority's harbour-monitoring radar scanners.
Bressay Lighthouse 2008
Note the beautiful gates
Bressay Lighthouse, 2008
Bressay Lighthouse.
Picture by Webster.
Bressay Lighthouse (2003)
Bressay Lighthouse from the air. Pic by Peter II
Another view from the air, March 2007

Basic Information :

Name Bressay Lighthouse
Position Latitude 60° 07.2’ N

Longitude 01° 07.2’ W
(HU 489376)

Location Kirkabister Ness,south Bressay

at the entrance to the Lerwick Harbour

Description A white tower, 48 foot high
Built by Thomas & David Stevenson
First lit August 31, 1858
Character Flashing (2)white every 20 seconds
Nominal Range 23 miles
Elevation 96 foot
Automated 1988.
Other information Electrified July 17th 1967

Foghorn discontinued 1987


The tower

The request to build a lighthouse on Bressay, at the south entrance to the Lerwick Harbour, was made by the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouses on November 11th, 1854. Permission was given by The Board of Trade on November 14th. The work started in February 1856.

In the beginning it was lit by candles, later it ran on paraffin and in 1967 it was electrified.
When it was automated in 1988, there was no need for the clockwork that was installed in 1940, so that was donated by the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) to the Shetland Museum.
It was not installed in the museum until the new museum was built. There it was mounted on a 4m. high pedestal so it was possible for the public to see it from every angle.
The mirrors were mounted on an array floating on 836 kgs of liquid mercury, this was removed and repaced with a roller plate, and the clockwork is now driven by an electric motor, to show how the lighthouse mechanism works.

The top of the lighthouse mechanism, with the paraffin lamp and the mirror
The lower part with the clockwork
Different lamps from Bressay Lighthouse

This link shows how the light was rebuilt and reinstalled in the Shetland Museum

In November 1995, the outbuildings and the keepers' cottages were purchased by Shetland Amenity Trust.
The two assistant keepers' cottages have been refurbished and are available on short-time lease.
The Principal keeper's cottage will be a self-catering complex and the engine room adjacent will be a camping bod.
The engine and radio rooms are due to be turned into a Heritage Centre.

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