Old Higher Lighthouse - Cottage Accommodation, Portland Bill, Dorset
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History of the Old Higher Lighthouse

Dating back to 1716 the Old Higher Lighthouse was the first true lighthouse on Portland Bill, although there was a beacon on the site back as far as 1620.Originally it was lit by 16 oil burners named after their inventor, Argond, a Frenchman. It was the first lighthouse to use Argond lamps and was also the first in the world to have a true reflector.

Old Higher Lighthouse

At one time, along with all other lighthouses, it was compulsorily purchased by Trinity House who were concerned that it was not always lit, making navigation around Portland doubly treacherous.
Rebuilt in 1869 it was visited by King George III who, when on one of his frequent trips to Weymouth, requested to see "this new lighthouse at Portland Bill".The Old Higher Lighthouse remained in use until 1906 when the current red and white lighthouse superseded it.

Sold to a private buyer for £400 it has since had around five owners before the current ones. Doctor Marie Stopes (pioneer of birth control) owned the lighthouse from 1923 until 1958 and some of her many visitors included George Bernard Shaw, HG Wells and Thomas Hardy who came to tea with his wife. During World War II Dr Stopes rented it out to naval officers who were visited by friends and family, including Margot Fonteyn (when a mere ballerina) and her mother.

The current owners bought the property in 1981 after it had lain derelict since the mid-1960s. Much love, sweat and tears has transformed the lighthouse into the completely refurbished building you'll find now. What was once the old paraffin store is now a warm, comfortable cottage available for holiday lets. Although separated from the tower by 30ft, access is available so that guests can make the most of the fantastic views along this part of the World Heritage Coast.

Dr Marie Stopes - Old Higher Lighthouse

The Old Higher Lighthouse, Portland Bill, Dorset DT5 2JT  Tel: 01305 822300