Phase one of the £144,000 work to restore Whitehaven’s two iconic 19th century lighthouses to their former glory has been completed.
CRS Facility Management, began work in August. So far they have sandblasted the layers of rust, dust and sand from the metalwork on the West Pier Lighthouse and stripped old paint from the masonry.
Work has also been taking place to prepare the masonry for repainting. Repainting of the masonry and metalwork is due to begin this week.
New light beacons for the lighthouse have also been ordered as well as new bolts to replace corroded bolts on the lighting dome.
CRS Facility Management, based in Lillyhall, is being supported by Bendalls Engineering, in Carlisle, and Shepley Engineering, in Whitehaven.
The two firms will be fabricating and installing any ironwork that needs to be replaced on the lighthouses.
“We want to retain as much of the original ironwork as we can, but will replace it where necessary,” said Gavin Henry, managing director of CRS Facility Management.
“We have already cleaned up small parts of the original metal work which looks absolutely great. It’s quite exciting to imagine how good the lighthouses will look when they are entirely restored and repainted.”
Contractors also plan to replace the lighthouse’s roof with new copper sheeting.
The full scope of the restoration work includes iron, timber, glazing and masonry work and it is hoped that both lighthouses will be fully restored by mid-November.
Work is due to begin on the North Pier Lighthouse soon.
The project is being funded mostly via Sellafield Ltd’s SiX (social impact, multiplied) programme, with additional funding provided by a variety of in-kind donations from Cumbrian people and businesses including CRS Facility Management and Bendalls Engineering.
Lakes College will also be deploying a number of apprentices to carry out the exterior paintwork.
Trevor Prowse, who has over 30 years construction management experience within the nuclear industry, has been donating his time to manage the project.
“So far things are going really well,” said Trevor. “We’re looking forward to commencing the next stage of painting and restoring the metal work and so far we are on schedule to complete work on both lighthouses by mid-November.”
John Baker, chief executive of Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, said: “It is extremely encouraging to see the progress that has been made on the restoration project.
“We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated equipment, time and expertise so far. It will be a great day when we can unveil the fully restored lighthouses as two iconic structures Whitehaven can be truly proud of.”
Gary McKeating, head of community and development at Sellafield Ltd, said: “We can’t wait to see the lighthouses back to their former glory so they become something the community can be proud of. Their restoration really complements many of the social impact activities we are supporting in the area.”