In search of my Great Grandfather, the Light house Keeper

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Spurn Head

In my family's history, there are Light house keepers. The British Lighthouse keepers worked for Trinity House and my Great Grand father was one of them. Infact his father was also a Lighthouse keeper and there could be more generations again. I wanted to concentrate on someone who can be remembered by members of my family and so we went on a pilgrimage.

My own Grandmother was born on Spurn Head. As a child, this sounded unusual but children don't tend to dig much deeper when presented with facts like that. I didn't.

Now I wish I had asked the questions. There are discoveries to be made and on the 100 th  anniversary of her birth we decided to go on a discovery to this very unusual place, so different from the softer, filled in  Cornish places of Lelant and Hayle  where she lived most of her life. 

Spurn is a wild dune covered, cold North sea bound, strip of land which follows like a thin line with a rounded bud on the end. On it is the Lighthouse, a black and white peeling  lighthouse, usually always shut now since it was decomissioned in the 1980's, slightly forbidding, green fronted door  lighthouse seen from every angle on Spurn. It was also the working domain of my Great Grandfather on two occasions. The last significant time was during the First world War and slightly before, between 1911 to 1919. More significantly, my Grandmother was born in the cottages near it. Her family lived and worked and  she actually went to school near it.  It may have been an  occasional remark by  the family over dinner, but this place is real and wild and famous and she was born there.

Spurn Head 1

It is hard not to be affected by the place. It is remote, claimed by wildlife  and even the Lifeboat crew and their families have been leaving Spurn now. So there is nowhere to go except watch the grey moving North sea and Humber shipping lanes and walk across the shifting sands and glance at the Lighthouse from different angles. It is good to know that when I glance, I can imagine that I have had family there, a hundred years ago. 

I am going to start a series of blogs with photograghs of the place. As it is very special, I can't rush it with one section of words or images. It has taken 90 years from someone from our family to go back. This is the first part with  an approach to the lighthouse.   The extra-ordinary was going to happen later on in our visit. Alice Fox, who is  the resident artist for Spurn this year, had her official open weekend and  we were to be given entry but we had to be patient. Going inside would have to wait, though we had come many miles. 

Great Grand daughter of a Light house Keeper

 Great Grand daughter of Lighthouse Keeper Robert James Hall of Spurn Head. 

 Steps of Spurn Light House

These steps caught my imagination as my Great Grandfather would have run up and down them constantly. Could I really see an imprint of one of his shoes?

Door Spurn

The door is locked as it normally is everyday, but soon it will be open.

Spiral Spurn

I loved the way the handrail spiralled around.The rail was a constantly used part  of the Lighhouse with it's flourish of Victorian style. The Lighthouse had been built in 1895 and it was built to last.

Trying the Door

Trying the door, but not yet.

Looming Light House

The looming presence of Spurn Lighthouse will soon release it's secrets.

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  1. Alison Boyes

    I also had had a relative who was a lighthouse keeper at Spurn.His name was Barnby.I would be interested to hear from anyone who has any local knowledge.i think he worked there is the 1800 s.The family are on the census.

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