Longstone lighthouse

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Longstone lightLongstone lighthouse was constructed in 1826 at the instruction of Trinity House, the ocean safety commissioners, as part of a campaign to make the Farne Islands safer for sailors.

The rocks and strong tides around the Farnes have always been treacherous to ships and the first lighthouses were built there in 1776, on Inner Farne and Staple Island. The Staple light was replaced in 1796 by another on Brownsman Island but the area was still very hazardous.  As a result the Longstone light was built by Joseph Nelson at a cost of £4,771 and first lit by keeper William Darling on 15 February 1826.

View from the  lightGrace Darling was the daughter of Longstone's first lighthouse keeper and lived there with her father. It was while living on the isolated island that she earned national fame for her courage in helping to save passengers of a wrecked steam ship.

The steamer Forfarshire plied regularly between Hull and Dundee but, on the night of 7 September 1838, she was forced by strong northerly winds against the Harcar Rocks off Longstone Island.  Grace Darling's bedroom window looked out across the rocks and it was from there that she spotted the stricken vessel. She told her father William of the disaster and the two set off in the lighthouse's tiny rowing boat to offer what help they could. They saved the lives of nine people who had been left clinging to the rocks after the ship foundered.

Grace Darling's tomb at BamburghShe was only 22 at the time and she quickly became a national heroine. But her life was to be a short one. She died of tuberculosis only four years after her courageous trip. She is buried at Bamburgh in sight of her famous deed.

Her memorial was paid for by public subscription, in recognition of her heroism, and the first donation was made by Queen Victoria herself.