Trinity House announces plans for a new visitor attraction, to open by Easter 2015

The former

lighthouse keepers’ cottages at Portland Bill Lighthouse in Dorset are to be turned into a new visitor centre.

Trinity House has agreed a lease with The Crown Estate for the premises, which will be rejuvenated and used to create a visitor experience, themed

around Trinity House’s maritime history and its responsibilities

providing aids to navigation, charitable support and educational

services to the mariner since 1514.

Portland Bill Lighthouse has

been popular with visitors for many years but their experience to date

has been limited to ascending the lighthouse.

The new centre will engage

visitors in the history, workings and importance of aids to navigation

such as lighthouses and fog signals and the people who made it all

work. 

Displays will demonstrate the nature of modern aids to

navigation and demonstrate why as an island nation, dependent on the sea

for trade, they remain of critical importance to the safety of the

mariner and to a growing maritime leisure community.

The new

centre will open by Easter

2015. 

Through its

lighthouse-themed Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 Education Packs, Trinity

House will encourage school groups to Portland Bill to engage in

science, numeracy and literacy-based curricular activities.

The

Crown Estate, which took over ownership of the lighthouse keepers’

cottages in the mid-1990s when the lighthouse was automated, wanted a

tenant who would use the ground floor of the premises in a manner

sympathetic to the history of the lighthouse and the local community.

The

reinvigorated attraction will complement the nine other lighthouses

that Trinity House opens to the public across England, Wales and the

Channel Islands, including the flagship Lizard Lighthouse Heritage

Centre in Cornwall, reopened by HRH The Princess Royal in 2009.

As well

as creating the new centre Trinity House is looking for a partner

organisation to operate the business on a day-to-day basis. This will be

of particular interest to those who have a background in managing

tourism-based activities with experience in generating footfall,

liaising with educational establishments and developing a locally-based

team to man and support the centre.

Neil Jacobson, portfolio manager for the South of England at The Crown Estate, said: ‘We are

delighted that we have been able to agree a lease with Trinity House,

building upon the progress made since 1997 when the centre first opened.

‘This is a great example of how we can work with our tenants to both

fulfil our commercial mandate and benefit local communities.’

Picture credit: Kevin Borg