Orfordness Lighthouse

2020 - Shining a Light on Orfordness Lighthouse (01/10/2020)

Matt Marvel brings you a special about Orfordness Lighthouse in Suffolk on BBC Radio Suffolk.

Please click play below to listen.

2020 - The Final Chapter.

Today, the dismantling of Orfordness Lighthouse commenced. A sad day for the Underwood family and to all those who will miss seeing it standing proud on the Orford coastline.

Orfordness Lighthouse is dismantled as sea edges closer
By Martin Barber and Laurence Cawley BBC News

The following is an interview between Adrian Underwood and Lesley Dolphin from BBC Radio Suffolk, that took place on the 17th July 2020, discussing memories and feelings about the dismantling of Orfordness Lighthouse.

Please click play below to listen.

2015 - A Tribute to Orfordness Lighthouse by Veronica Worrall.

This film celebrates the life of Orfordness Lighthouse.

It was made as part of HLF Landscape Partnership Scheme, Touching the Tide.

It was first shown in Orford on 11th September 2015 at The Lighthouse Exhibition and was made by Veronica Worall.

Please click on the link below to view this excellent and moving film:

Tribute to Orfordness Lighthouse

2015  - “The Guiding Light” by Adrian Underwood


On the East Coast of Suffolk stands an icon we see;

A lighthouse that has a particular connection for me.


For twenty nine years my Father was the attendant,

And my visits with him I recall as resplendent.


A majestic tower bathed in red and white,

Has been guiding mariners day and night.


Its sector light declares two shingle banks,

For which many a sailor has given thanks.


Every five seconds a bright beam of light,

Sweeps boldly from the coastline each night.


Its lamps have changed from oil fired to metal halide,

But have shone true throughout both time and tide.


From having two keepers to full automation,

Orfordness Lighthouse has been part of our nation.


Over two hundred years it has stood tall and proud

Withstanding the sunshine, the rain and the cloud.


Modern technology has now made it redundant,

With Sat. Nav. devices which are all too abundant.


Its demise makes me overwhelmingly mad,

That it cannot be protected is extremely sad.


With coastal erosion its fate soon will be,

This beautiful tower will be subsumed by the sea.


That grey expanse safely navigated on every wave,

Will eventually become its watery grave.


When it finally disappears from the Orford Ness skyline,

It will surely be forgotten by generations in time.


But for those who remember its beam late at night,

I hope, will fondly recall it as their guiding light.


Copyright ©2024 Adrian Underwood

2010 - Discontinuation of Aids to Navigation at Orfordness.

The beginning of the end appears to be underway for Orfordness Lighthouse in 2010.

For more information please click on the link below.

Keep up to date with developments on the “In the News” page.

TRINITY HOUSE 2010 – Aids to Navigation Review

2001 - Photograph of Lighthouse Lamps at The Jolly Sailor - Orford

This photograph was taken in the bar of  The Jolly Sailor - Orford in October 2001.

The lamps displayed (from left to right) are from the sector light, the main light, in use between 1959 and 1991, and the main light in use between 1991 and 2000.

In 2000 the main light lamp was replaced by a 70-watt 12 volt metal halide lamp which runs off batteries. Many thanks to Ian Ridpath for providing this information.

These lamps are still on display today in The Jolly Sailor.


1993 - Charlie Underwood at the Lighthouse


1993 -Entrance Porch

Above the door into the tower from the entrance porch is the date the lighthouse was built. It is displayed in Roman numerals (see picture below):


1992 - Bicentenary

In 1992 Orfordness lighthouse was opened to the public during the summer to celebrate it’s bicentenary.

The opening was reported on Anglia News on 9th June 1992 and BBC Look East on 28th July 1992.

Please click videos below to see the clips of the news reports:


Information on the history of the lighthouse that was provided to the public can be found on the Trinity House website linked below.

Trinity House - Orfordness Lighthouse

1992 - Anglia TV - A Village in Suffolk presented by Paul Barnes

The following extract was taken from Anglia TV’s “A Village in...” series when they came to Orford.

It was presented by Paul Barnes and aired on 5th April 1992. This clip below shows Paul speaking with Charlie Underwood at the Lighthouse.

1992 - BBC Radio Suffolk - A Visit to the Lighthouse

The following recording was made by BBC Radio Suffolk when Charlie Underwood took John Ely, one of their reporters, for a visit to the Lighthouse.

Unfortunately I do not have the exact date of the transmission, however I hope you enjoy listening to the journey from Orford Quay to the top of the Lighthouse.

The length of this audio clip is 43 mins. Click below to play the clip.

1971 - Guinness Book of Records

In the 1971 edition of the Guinness Book of Records it was incorrectly reported that Orfordness Lighthouse was the brightest Lighthouse in the United Kingdom. The extract from that edition, on page 120, reads:

“The lighthouse in the United Kingdom with the most powerful light is the shorelight Orfordness, Suffolk. It has an intensity of 7,500,000 candelas. The Irish Light with the greatest intensity is Aranmore on Rinrawros Point, County Donegal.”

This was retracted in the subsequent edition and it is not known how the error occurred. The actual intensity at the time was 5,000,000 candelas.

The current lamp and optic configuration of the Lighthouse produces 635,000 candelas.

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