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Chance Brothers Lighthouse Chance Brothers Lighthouse
  • Date of lens manufacture

    1897

  • Date of lighthouse construction

    1864

  • Country

    South Africa

  • Commissioning body

    Cape Colonial Government

  • Order of lens

    4th order

  • Fixed or revolving lens
    ---
  • Active/Inactive

    Active

  • Describe the character of light

    FL (3) 15S

  • Describe the lighthouses daymarks

    Square masonry tower painted white with white lantern house

  • Which aspects of the lighthouse (other than the lens) were manufactured by Chance brothers
    ---
  • Describe the history of the lighthouse

    Fourth-order Chance Brothers lens was installed in 1897, replacing the original bought in 1862 from W Wilkins & Co of London. The first South African light to be rotated on ball bearings.

    Whilst it might not be as obvious today that Mossel Bay is named for the plethora of mussels that used to bedeck the bay, there is a story about the Dutch navigator, Paulus van Caerden, who arrived in the bay to find nothing other than mussels to add to his ship's rather depleted provisions in the year 1601.

    The presence of mussels adds credence to the description of a lot of the coastline as rugged and dangerous for ships, despite the long, sandy beaches that attract holiday makers for most of the year. The harbour town thus erected a square, white tower lighthouse on the incredible cliffs of St Blaize that stands 20,5 metres high above a cliff face, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1862 by visiting Governor Wodehouse.

    It was thus suggested that the lighthouse, completed in 1864, be called the Wodehouse Lighthouse, but this was never adopted. The Cape St Blaize lighthouse was, until recently, one of only two lighthouses along the South African coast that maintained a 24-hour watch. It is also, obviously, one lighthouse that lighthouse keeper's wives were grateful to receive as their husband's post, mainly due to its proximity to a town, to schools for their children, and the chance to work themselves.

    The view from the tower of the lighthouse is spectacular and one can visit to climb the steps. It is open to the public between 10am and 3pm every day between April and October, with visits by arrangement the rest of the year. One can also stay close to the lighthouse.

    Much of the workings of the lighthouse are today fully automated, but there still remains a senior lightkeeper and a couple of lightkeepers who help with radio watch and meteoroligical duties.

  • Current management body/ ports authority

    Transnet Port Authority

  • Historical preservation societies/manager/operator

    Made a National Monument in 1999

  • Is the site vulnerable to coastal erosion?
    no
  • Have you experienced any affects of climate change on the lighthouse?

    No

  • Observations on the condition of the lighthouse?

    Excellent

  • Is the site open/closed to the public

    Open

  • Is the tower open/closed to the public

    Open

  • Latitude and Longitude

    34.1858° S, 22.1560° E

  • On-site bookable accommodation available
    no
  • Associated web addresses
  • Other details
    ---
  • Which resources did you use to research this lighthouses?

In the 1800s, Chance Brothers & Co glassworks in Smethwick began making the hi-tech lenses that lighthouses use to warn ships of dangerous locations. By 1951, over 2,500 lighthouses around the world were fitted with a Chance lens.

Where?


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