L © The Bonau Cabbage Patch Whitford Lighthouse Whiteford Point Lighthouse is located off the coast at  Whiteford Point near Whiteford Sands, on the Gower Peninsula. It is an unusual cast-iron lighthouse built in 1865 to a design by  John Bowen (1825–1873) of Llanelli, by the Llanelli Harbour and  Burry Navigation Commissioners to mark the shoals of  Whiteford Point, replacing an earlier piled structure of 1854, of  which nothing remains. It is the only wave-swept cast-iron tower  of this size in Britain. The tower is 44 feet (13 m) high and  stands just above low-water level. The base is about 24 feet (7.3 m) in diameter and rises gracefully to a diameter of 11 feet 6  inches (3.51 m) at lantern level. A pitched stone apron  surrounds the base of the lighthouse.  The lighthouse sits on 88 wooden piles driven into glacial  moraine. These are linked horizontally by walling pieces, using  500 cast-iron plants and bolts. These would have formed a box,  probably square or octagonal, which would have been  excavated and partially filled with concrete. The materials were  delivered by boat and work undertaken during low tide.  The structure of the shell is formed from 105 bent and tapered  cast-iron plates, each about 32 millimetres (1.3 in) thick, with an  upstand flange on each side, and bolted with cast-iron bolts,  each weighing 2 pounds (0.91 kg). There are eight levels of  panel tapering to the sixth 'course'. The first three horizontal  joints are covered by iron bands supported on brackets and  topped with fillets of concrete. During the 1870s vertical cracks developed in the plates of the  lowest three rings. A local blacksmith called Powell made  wrought-iron straps which were bolted to the flanges on each  side of the cracked plates. At the time, the cracks were put down  to lateral pressures arising from the settlement of the inner  masonry, being composed of rough beach stones and 'bad'  mortar. By 1884, 150 straps had been fitted. The compaction of  the fill may have been compounded by movement (swaying) of  the tower, reported in 1884 by the lighthouse keeper to have  been 'several inches'. In 1885, the ground around the tower was  strengthened with the addition of a concrete skirt 18 inches (46  cm) deep, bound by a 2-inch (5.1 cm) wide iron band, effectively  anchoring the skirt to the base of the tower. The equipment for the lighthouse is listed in an inventory of 1888  and indicates that provision was made for two lighthouse  keepers, although each of the census returns of 1871, 1881,  1891, and 1901 names one keeper. The working pattern was  two weeks at Whitford Lighthouse alternating with two weeks at  Llanelli Harbour Lighthouse.  Three Argand lamps and reflectors were fitted, one towards the  Lynch Pool or south channel, one towards Burry Port, and one  towards Llanelli. In 1876, the Harbour Master set a fourth lamp  to shine west along the north channel. The Admiralty chart of  1887 shows the "Arc of Visibility" of the lights from slightly west  of south, through north, to slightly south of east. The lighthouse was discontinued in 1920, when responsibility for  the light was transferred to Trinity House, who decided to  establish a new beacon at Burry Holms. However, after pleas  from local yachtsmen, the light was relit in the 1980s. This gave  an additional point of reference when navigating the waters  between the Gower Peninsula and Burry Port: on dark nights,  boat crews often found themselves on top of Whiteford Point  before realizing the fact. The cost was £1,300, with £1,000 being funded by the Harbour Commissioners and the balance by Burry  Port Yacht Club. The new light was fully automatic and switched  on when daylight faded to a pre-determined level. Two nautical  almanacs published in 1987, Reeds, and Macmillan and Silk  Cut, listed Whiteford Lighthouse as flashing every five seconds. After a failure of the solar unit, the light was removed and not  replaced. However, the lighthouse still has navigational value in  daylight. It is now owned by Carmarthenshire County Council.  The first known cast-iron British lighthouse was at Swansea  Harbour and was built in 1803. The architect was Jernegan, and  the plates were cast at the Neath Abbey Ironworks. Cast iron was also used for Maryport Lighthouse, Cumberland,  in 1834. In 1836, the lighthouse at the Town Pier, Gravesend,  Kent, was built from cast iron. In 1842, two cast-iron leading  lights were erected at Aberdeen, with elegant tapering octagonal  towers and a smooth external face. At Sunderland, another well-  known example was built on the pier head in 1856.  The first 'solid' rock or wave-washed cast-iron tower was erected on the exposed Fastnet Rock in 1854, but this cracked and was  replaced by a masonry tower in 1904. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the engineer Alexander  Gordon designed a number of fine cast-iron towers for colonial  waters. These were cast at Pimlico and shipped out to be  erected by comparatively unskilled labour. Some still survive in  Jamaica and Bermuda, and a cast-iron tower at Tiri-tiri, New  Zealand, built in 1920, is one of the last in this material. Whiteford Lighthouse is the only cast-iron lighthouse in Britain  which is wave-washed, although it can be reached on foot at low  tide. The handful of other surviving lighthouses of this type stand  well clear of the water on either harbour piers or reefs. Whitford Lighthouse is listed by Cadw as Grade II* as a rare  survival of a wave-swept cast-iron lighthouse in British coastal  waters, and an important work of cast-iron architecture and  nineteenth-century lighthouse design and construction. It is also  a Scheduled Ancient Monument.