Link - article by Avi Abrams

By popular request, I'm reposting this story, which originally was a part of our longer post - the weekly "Blend". (I think I will only publish daily Quantum Shots for now)

The Whimsical Lighthouse

Here is a curious story related to the current Eddystone Rocks Lighthouse:

In 1964 National Geographic did an article on various lighthouses in Devon, England, and mentioned the original light tower build by a practical joker and curious character Henry Winstanley in 1696. His own mansion was a London attraction for decades, filled with various gadgets, pitfalls, traps and curiosities - almost a "Ripley's Believe it or not" in itself. However his imagination was not satisfied with that and he set out to build the first Eddystone Lighthouse.

Against incredible odds the tower was completed in 1698, saving the lives of many sailors from the fate of the thousands who previously died upon the rocks. The architecture was pretty fanciful, as you can see:

He himself could be seen in this drawing fishing in one of the windows. The lighthouse survived its first winter, and Winstanley expressed a wish that if he perish, it'd be on top of his tower in the storm. This wish came true when in a winter storm in November 1703 the tower was demolished, among with Winstanley who was in the lighthouse that night.

See this engraving depicting the tower right after the storm:

Since then, there were 4 more lighthouses build on Eddystone Rocks, but none as extravagant as the Winstanley's tower.

As an afterthought, here is what weird fiction writer Jeff Vandermeer said once:

"The marvelous is not the same in every period of history - it partakes of the sort of the general revelation only the fragment of which come down to us; they are the romantic ruins, the modern mannequins"

Some architecture lives in our imagination as a sort of "the romantic ruins", and perhaps only benefits from it.


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Anonymous Rick said...

This is the kind of thing that makes you wish there were cameras back then so you could have seen what it really looks like!


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