Pakefield Coastwatch Pakefield Coastwatch is a member of the Sea Safety Group, an Association of independent Coastal Surveillance stations

The forgotten lighthouse A brief history   1831‑1864

If you ask the majority of East Coast mariners, they would not have heard of Pakefield Lighthouse, in fact some life long residents of Pakefield are unaware of its existence!

The continually shifting sandbanks of this part of the coast make navigation very difficult between the Barnard and Newcome sand banks. In July 1831, the committee of Trinity House Elder Brethren contracted London Architect Richard Suter to design a lighthouse to assist ships make a safe passage through Pakefield Gatway, the channel between the two sandbanks providing a way into Lowestoft harbour. They may well have received encouragement by the prospect of the new harbour at Lowestoft that was due to open on the 10th August 1831. Messrs James Taylor of Great Yarmouth was to build it.

On sandy cliffs 34 feet (10 m) above sea level in the grounds of Pakefield Hall, erection started of Pakefield lighthouse and keepers’ cottages. The final account for the whole establishment was £821. 9s. 4d. The white tower stood 30 feet (9 m) high. Placed on top was a lantern containing two Argand lamps, the first scientifically constructed oil lamp patented in 1784 in England by a Swiss, Aimé Argand. An Argand lamp gave about 10 times the light of an earlier lamp of the same size. Appointed as keeper of the light in October 1831, George Medmer Goodwin, lately retired from the Jamaica Trade, received £65 as “salary, gratuity and allowance for beer”. First lit on 1st May 1832, the argand lamps produced a white light visible for 9 nautical miles. The colour of the light soon changed to red as some ships confused the white light with that of the light shining off the windows of nearby houses.