Spurn is a very unique place in the
British Islands. Three and a half miles long and only fifty metres wide in
Extending out in to the Humber Estuary from the Yorkshire coast it has always had a big affect to the navigation of all vessels over the years. Help to some and a danger or hindrance to others. This alone makes Spurn a unique place.
Spurn is made up of a series of sand and shingle banks held together with mainly Marram grass and Seabuckthorn. There are a series of sea defence works built by the Victorians and maintained by the Ministry of Defence, till they sold Spurn to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in the 1950s. The defences are in a poor state, breaking down and crumbling. This is making Spurn a very fragile place wide open to the ravages of the North Sea.
One of the most striking features of Spurn is the black and white lighthouse near to the end of Spurn. Now just an empty shell not used since it was closed down at dawn on the thirty first of October 1986.
There have been many Lighthouses on Spurn over the years the first recorded at around 1427. The present light was built from 1893 TO 1895. The small tower on the beach on the Estuary side was originally the low light. It was built and put in to operation at around 1852. This light was no longer needed when the present lighthouse was opened in 1895.At a later date the light was removed and it was used as a store for explosives and later as a water tower. The tank can still be seen on the top. When it was operational there was a raised walkway from the shore to the lighthouse so it could be reached at all stages of the tide.
The present lighthouse was built to replace an old lighthouse that was positioned just to the south of the present one. You can still see the round perimeter wall surrounding the old keepers cottages and the base of the old lighthouse which had to be demolished due to it settling on it's foundations making it unsafe.
The only light on Spurn today is a flashing green starboard light on the very end of the point and the fixed green lights marking the end of the Pilots jetty.
Because of Spurns ever moving position there have been many Lighthouses over the years. There is a very good book by George.de.BOAR, called History of the Spurn Lighthouses, produced by the East Yorkshire Local History Society. This is one of a series of books on local history.
All Text and Pictures © Dave Steenvoorden.