Now rebuilt on the Hoe in Plymouth this was the third lighthouse which was originally situated on the Eddystone rocks about 14 miles off Plymouth.
John Smeaton FRS, a renowned civil engineer, was engaged to construct a new lighthouse. He took it very seriously and firstly examined the plans of the previous lighthouses and consider the causes of failure of the other buildings. Having noticed that the oak tree, with its root structure, was able to withstand high winds by virtue of its shape and strength, he conceived the idea of designing a lighthouse to be like an oak tree. Furthermore he decided to prepare the stonework on shore, rather than try to do it on the rock. This would speed the work, he felt.
Work started on the stones at a yard at Mill Bay on Monday December 13th 1756, under the direct supervision of Mr William Tyrrell, who had previously been the mason working at Portland in Dorset on the stones for the Westminster Bridge in London.
On June 12th 1757 the foundation was laid and on August 24th 1759 the last stone was put in place over the eastern door of the lantern. The lantern was first lit on the evening of October 16th that year, which just happened to coincide with a storm. There was some movement of the building but none such to cause alarm to the occupants.
Smeaton's lighthouse would be still on the Eddystone rocks today but for the fact that the rock on which it stood was becoming undermined by the sea.
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