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Bell Rock is 18km out to sea This meant that the men who were working to bulid the lighthouse would have to live out at sea as sailing out to the rock would have consumed too much time that could be used for construction. The boat all the men stayed on was anchored 2km from the Bell Rock so each day of work began and ended with an uncomfortable jouney in a paddle boat.


Only visable for 4 hours a day

For 20 hours of the day, Bell Rock is submerged under the tide, and only becomes visible for 4 hours, but due to the men staying 2km away, they only had around 2 hours a day where they could physically work on the rock, meaning every minute counted during construction



The estimated cost of the build was £42,000,this would have to include, the building materials, wages for the workers, and any other unforseen costs that may emerge, however the cost ended up at £63,000 which in todays economy would amount to £3,735,000

Foundations First task of the first season

The foundations for the lighthouse was the first hurdle the workers had to over come, using pickaxes they cut away at the hard red sandstone that made up the treturous rock for hours on end until they had a 42ft wide by 2ft deep hole in the surface of Bel Rock. This took the men, 2 month to complete due to them only being able to work 2 hours a day.

Beacon House Shortly after begining the foundations for the lighthouse Stephenson realised that traveling to and from the rock was taking up too much constuction time so he decided to bulid a place for the men to stay on the rock so work could resume as soon as the tide was low enough. However, only the legs of the beacon house were erected before the first season was over, this meant that they would ahve to pray for them to stay up over the winter until their return, which agaisnt all odds became a reality when they returned for the second season.

Once the men returned for the second season they began work on finishing the beacon house, this was completed shortly into the season which increase constructuon time. The beacon house held 15 men, and eventhough the men didnt have much faith in its safety, it mananged to stand throughtout the treturous storms that the sea had to offer.

Stone Courses During the winter months and throughout the year, Stephenson employed 60 stone masons to carve out the 2,500 stones required to complete the lighthouse, each stone took weeks to finish and had to be perfect. The way the stones interlocked was the the main way the lighthouse would achieve stability along with the sheer weight of them, aswell as being held in place with mortar. To get this required standard the stone masons had no room for error on each stone so if one was out by a centimetre, it would cause the whole course to be wrong.

Curve The curve of the lighthouse may be the most importnat part of the build, Stephenson knew that without a curve the power of the waves crashing into to lighthouse would eventually topple it. The curve would help

redirect the enenergy of the wave so the lighthouse would take the full force of the huge waves, so he made many modles all with different angles of the curve inorder to find the optimum angle.

Stephenson decided on a 70 degree curve, however Renni, the consultant engineer determined that 70 deggrees would be too steep and therefore changed stephensons plans. The specialist curve that the bell rock lighthouse has is believed to be the main reason why it has stood on bell rock for so long.

The crane was essential when building the beacon house and stacking the courses of stone because the men wouldnt have been able to lift the sheer weight of all the materials. The crane also had to be able to dissasemble in order for the men to move it further op as the lighthouse began to take form.

Tools of

the Trade Pickaxes were the main tool uesd, especially in the digging of the foundations, but due to the resistance of the hard sandstone that made up Bell Rock, Stephenson had to bring along a blacksmith with his forge so he could re-sharpen them on site. This tactic prooved to be to be invaluable as the blacksmith was constantly sharpening a pickaxe further showing the resiliance of the Bell Rock.


Stephenson recruited 60 men including a blacksmith so the tools could be sharpend on site, they were paid ÂŁ1 a day aswell as food and drink. Most of the men had never been out to see so many suffered with sea sickness and all the men knew of the great risks they would encounter.

These men managed to complete the build with nothing more than sea sickness, they were very lucky considering the challenges they faced each day. These men werent so lucky, they become injured durning the bulid, however they became the first lighthouse keepers of the Bell Rock. Sadly these men gave their lives while building the lighthouse, showing the very real danger of this particular constructon job.

Because of the weight of the stones, Stephenson had to use a horse called Bassey to cart each stone one by one to the boat that then took them to the men on Bell Rock.

How was the bell rock lighthouse built  
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