By Tom Nancollas
'A thrilling celebration of lighthouses' i newspaper
An enthralling history of Britain's rock lighthouses, and the people who built and inhabited them
Lighthouses are enduring monuments to our relationship with the sea. They encapsulate a romantic vision of solitary homes amongst the waves, but their original purpose was much more noble, conceived as navigational gifts for the safety of all. Still today, we depend upon their guiding lights for the safe passage of ships.
Nowhere is this truer than in the rock lighthouses of Great Britain and Ireland: twenty towers built between 1811 and 1904, so-called because they were constructed on desolate, slippery rock formations in the middle of the sea, rising, mirage-like, straight out of the waves, with lights shining at the their summits. Seashaken Houses is a lyrical exploration of these magnificent, isolated sentinels, the ingenuity of those who conceived them, the people who risked their lives building and rebuilding them, those that inhabited their circular rooms, and the ways in which we value emblems of our history in a changing world.
Arthur Beale says
"Part history and part personal travelogue, Seashaken Houses is an account of the "rock lighthouses" (lighthouses built on reefs out at sea, rather than on headlands) around Britain and Ireland. For sailors, the names of some of these (Fastnet, Bishop Rock, Eddystone) will be more familiar than others, but it's a good read for anyone interested in the feats of engineering that the lighthouses represent, and the lonely vigil of the lighthouse keepers (they knew a thing or two about self isolation!) who manned them for hundreds of years."
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