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The Last Boat Relief Trip for Trinity House Keepers to Bishop Rock Lighthouse

Last official changeover of keepers by boat at Bishop Rock Lighthouse off the Scillies 

News 1976 7 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


TV reporter Del Cooper visits the Isles of Scilly for the end of an era for Bishop Rock as the last official boat relief for lighthouse keepers, George Williams, Roger Simmons and Terry Johns. Relief will be carried out by helicopter as a new helipad is opened. Keepers are winched onto the smallest island in the world with a building on it with the aid of a breeches buoy or zip wire. Boatman George Hicks explains how landing the keepers is dependent on the seas around the Bishop.

A new helideck enables the safe passage of lighthouse personnel to and from the rock. The lighthouse has ten floors and is the second largest after the Eddystone Lighthouse. Lighthouses are run by Trinity House in Tower Hill and are responsible for navigation, lightships, buoys and radio and satellite communication systems. The original Bishop Rock Lighthouse is built in 1847 but rebuilt to a design by James Walker and first lit in 1858. In 1881 Sir James Douglass renovates the lighthouse. The Bishop is automated in 1992 and the last keepers in the UK retire from service in 1996.