Lighthouse, Ailsa Craig

Lighthouse, Ailsa Craig, Girvan
Posted 1921-22
Publisher: The Philco Publishing Company, London

Google Street View (approximate)

Ailsa Craig Lighthouse is located on Ailsa Craig, an island in the Firth of Clyde, just offshore from Girvan, South Ayrshire, Scotland. In 1881, petitions were received by the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses from Lloyds and the Scottish Shipmasters Association requesting the erection of two fog signals and a lighthouse on Ailsa Craig. The Board of Trade and Trinity House both agreed to the proposal and work commenced the following year. The light was first exhibited on the night of 15 June 1886, an oil burning light which remained in use until 24 January 1911, when it was converted to incandescent.

Until wireless telephone communications were established on Ailsa Craig in 1935, the lightkeepers and employees of Ailsa Craig Granites Ltd used to depend on pigeons for the conveyance of messages. A pigeon house was established at Girvan Green, where the town council established a parking place for cars and buses in 1935. The pigeons were provided by the Lighthouse Boatman at that time, who received an annual payment of £4.00. When a doctor or supplies were required urgently in stormy weather when it was impossible to have messages taken by carrier pigeon, a system of signals by fire was used. One fire on the castle path showing the Lighthouse to the North indicated “bring doctor for Lighthouse”; two fires on the castle path (one at the same place as the Lighthouse fire, and the other 20-30 yards above it), meant “bring doctor for Quarry Company”; one fire at the north end of the Castle Flat showing the Lighthouse to the South indicated the provisions were required.
Northern Lighthouse Board