Grace Darling's home reopened to the public

The lighthouse from which Grace Darling embarked on her heroic rescue has reopened to the public.

Thursday, 14th April 2016, 07:09 am
Longstone lighthouse by Andrew Johnson

The Longstone Lighthouse, on the Farne Islands, now features improved displays and interactives for all the family.

Grace, a lighthouse keeper’s daughter, became a Victorian heroine when she rowed out with her father in storm conditions to save nine victims of the foundering steamer Forfarshire in 1838.

Longstone Lighthouse visitor centre

Much of the upgraded visitor centre areas are given over to telling the story of Grace and her father William, of the rescue and their life at the lighthouse. The Darling family were the first to live in the lighthouse after it was built by Trinity House in 1826.

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The visitor centre also looks at the history of Trinity House and informs visitors what the maritime charity and General Lighthouse Authority is doing to carry on the work it began in 1514.

Visitors can view Grace’s tiny bedroom from where she spotted nine survivors desperately clinging to the rocks.

Despite a raging storm, the Darlings launched the lighthouse boat and rescued the survivors, caring for them in the lighthouse for two days until the storm subsided.

Longstone Lighthouse visitor centre

Longstone Lighthouse was built in 1826 by Joseph Nelson but has undergone many changes from that time. The current accommodation was built in 1951 on the former site of the fog signal house that had been destroyed by bombing in 1942.

The lighthouse was electrified in 1952 and was automated in 1990 with constant running diesel alternators providing power.

A re-engineering project means that power for the lighthouse will now largely be supplied from renewable energy, produced by a solar panel system mounted on the roof of the accommodation building.

In putting together the new and improved displays, Trinity House was assisted in part by the team at the RNLI Grace Darling Museum in nearby Bamburgh, to whom Trinity House is very grateful.