Caught by the River

Lighthouses of the UK #17: Harwich High Lighthouse

Ben Langworthy | 22nd June 2024

As Ben Langworthy draws his way around the coasts of the UK, he arrives in Harwich, Essex — a lighthouse-fancier’s paradise.

Harwich is not short of lighthouses. In fact, with no less than four towers plus a decommissioned lightship, it’s something of a pharologist’s dream. Built in 1818, this rather peculiar 90-foot-tall building and its diminutive sister replaced the earlier wooden structures seen in John Constable’s painting of c. 1820. The pair are leading lights, meaning that mariners would line up the beacons in order to ensure they were on the right track. They became obsolete in 1862 when they themselves were replaced by elegant cast iron structures on Dovercourt Beach nearby (more on them another time). Since then, Harwich High Lighthouse has been a private home, council offices, and is now part of a local museum.