From Prehistory to the Romans   13

Prehistory 13; Portus Dubris and Thanet13; After the Romans 16; The Problem of Sand 17; The Conundrum of Sea Levels 21; The First Aids to Navigation 22; The Goodwin Sands in Culture 23

Early Navigational Lights

Birth of an Industry           29

Ecclesiastical Lights 29; The Industrial Age Begins 33; The First Navigational Lights 35; Coal 37; Candles 40; Glass And The Lighthouse Lantern 41

The Keeping of Lights

Birth of a Tradition 45

Through The Eyes Of A Child 45; How Did It All Start? 46; The Co-operatives 49; The Capitalist Motive 49; The Hunt for Details 50

Forelands Lighthouses

1600-1700     53

Letters Patent 56; The Osboldstons57

Family Folklore

20th Century           61

A Question of Remembrance 61; Horner’s Weekly 65; Sources And Their Interpretation 68; The Wesleyan Methodist Magazine 68

William & Elizabeth

Early 18th Century  73

Keeping the Tradition Alive73; In The Beginning74; In Search Of The 18th c Knott Family At St. Margaret’s At Cliffe75; The Knotts Of Acrise79; A Marriage Of Uncertainty80; The Knotts Of St. Margaret’s At Cliffe82; A Typical Working Life82

Henry & Judith

Second Half Of The 18th Century            85

Henry - The Next Generation85; Advancing Technology - Ideas That Revolutionized Lights In The 18th and 19th Centuries. 87; An Old Light And A New Keeper89; The Old Lights Are To Be Replaced90; War With France, But The Lights Continue To Shine Brightly93; Naval Activity Off The Coast93; The New Technology Is Not So Bright95; The Durrant Sketches96; The Turner Sketches98

Henry, Ann & Margaret

Early 19th Century  101

The Young Henry Marries 101; Old Henry Writes his Will102; The Contents of Henry’s Estate103; Another Keeper Is Found104; Living With The Sea104; The Lighthouse Is Put On The Map105; Living With The Unexpected105; Trinity House Makes Its Mark106; The Census Enumerator Calls At Every House109; A Question Of Ownership110; The Keepers Face A Decade Of Upheaval110; The New Lighthouses Arise, But Life Carries On113; The New Lighthouses Attract Attention114; James Walker 115; A Detailed Report From Inside the New High Lighthouse116

Henry & Ann

mid-19th century    121

A Family Light in Yorkshire121; Destination Yorkshire122; A Magnificent Lighthouse123; The Light Keepers Identified124; One’s Company, Two’s a Crowd!125; A Turn for the Worse126; A Change in Direction126; A New Keeper Arrives at Flamborough127

George & Catherine

The Golden Age of Victoria           133

A Deplorable Event134; The Knotts Occupy Both Lights135; A Year Of Births And Deaths136; The New Manning System Reaches The South Foreland Lights136; Michael Faraday - Working Man’s Hero138; Electric Magic139; Henry And George Knott Meet Michael Faraday142; A New Light In Cornwall Brings A Shock To The Family 142; The Lights Shine Out On Census Night 143; The Limelight At The South Foreland 144; Change Comes To South Foreland 145; Anyone Can Be Replaced146; New Keepers Take Up Residence147; The Man Who Built a Lighthouse148; The End Approaches 149; The Keeper Who Already Knew About Electricity 151; Another Unusual Start In Life 152; George Avoids A Move153; George Leaves The Family Light153; New Surroundings, New Colleagues154; The Romance Of The Most Famous Lighthouse In The World155; Life On The Eddystone156; A Year In The Life Of The Eddystone Lighthouse - 1863158; A More Domestic Scene159; Developments In Alma Cottages160; Eddystone Revisited 1864161; The Curious Tale Of A Name And An Earl’s Daughter 165

Exhibiting To The World

The Great Legacy Of Prince Albert          167

Showing The World What Can Be Done 167; The Genealogy of the Optic171; The Man Who Made A Model Lighthouse 174; George’s Model Goes On Display178; Touching the Past 181; The Lighthouse Becomes an Exhibition 182; A Final Thought 183

Leading Lights

South Foreland Becomes Experimental 189

Nature’s Lightning Is Tamed189; Of Engines and Engineers192; A New Baby For A New World 193; Transformative Times194; A Piece Of Sunlight Poured Out Upon The Night  194; Foreign Competition Becomes Fierce 196; When Science Is Fogged 197; The Science of Fog and the Fog of Science200; Major Elliott Describes The Keepers204

A New Era For Light Keepers

Government Inertia209; The Lighthouse Manifest212; The Brave New World of Electricity215; South Foreland Becomes A Permanent Test Bed217; The Fog Returns220; Electricity or Electrickery?223

The Men Who Made Invention Work

A Churn Of Staff 229; These Crazy English!232; That Curious Wall236; A Flight Of Fancy236; Now You See Him – Now You Don’t238; Electric Light Tips239; Engineers in Charge of Lighthouses241; The Keepers Keep On Coming244; Climate Change246; The New World of Communication247; Oh! Mister Marconi - How Wonderful!248; The First Serious Messages250; Wireless Signals by Day, but Light by Night251

Henry T, Ellen & Sarah

Late 19th Century   255

Appledore, Shipyards And Three Brothers Named Knott 255; Induction into Trinity House 257; Holyhead and the Skerries Light 258; Families On The Skerries 259; A Slide Into Depression 262; The Man In The Middle 263; The Mistake That Led To Mucking 264; A Passage To India 266; A Brush With Death 268; If They Exist - A Word of Caution 268; Another Welsh Compromise 268; Comfortable Years At St. Ann’s Head 269; Clips From The School Log Book 271; A Light In The Midst Of A Storm 273; It’s Time To Think Of Leaving St. Ann’s 274; Little has Changed in Holyhead275; A Second Bite at the Skerries 276; The Devon Years 1902 – 1908 277; Bull Point and One Last Move 280

Edmond & Alice

20th Century           283

An Ever-Changing Scene: 1901 - 1910283; A Career Cut Short286; Life has a New Order290; A New Light Is In Place, But Is It Safe?292; Last Man Out Turn Off the Light295; The Cliff Remains a Danger295; And Then There Were Four297; The Old Lighthouse Tells a New Story299; Postscript301

North Foreland

Postcards - Public and Private 303; When “Romance” Was Differently Perceived 305; A Little Bit of History 306; Guiding Light Keepers 308; A Hidden Network Of Light Keepers 309; Snapshots of St. Ann’s Head 310; North Foreland Tower Is Unfit For Purpose 312; Returning to Kent From Devon 317; The Last Lighthouse For George 319; The End Days 320; A View Through The Ages322; Signal Stations323; Lloyd’s of London323; A Bright Idea324; Radio Navigation325; Decca and Gee329; DGPS329


The Retirement Years In Dover 1890 - 1900 331; Castlemount Road, Dover 332; A New Equilibrium 334; A Game of Domestic Chess 335; A Turning Point 336; Another Case of Who You Know? 337; The Pentside Chapel 338; From Beat to Banquet - a Knott Forgotten 341; The Queen is Dead – Long Live the King342; Life in Dover Carries On342; The Light Has Gone Out344; The Twilight Years345; From Pentside to Queen Street346; The Knott Family Loses Its Matriarch347; War With Germany348

South Foreland In The 20th Century

Transformative Times 351; A Second-Hand Lens 352; Mercury 353; The Light354; Piccadilly of the Sea  355; The Old Lighthouse has a New Owner  356; The Four Light Keepers of 1911  357; Dark Clouds Over Europe  358; The Onset Of War  359; Marconi’s Direction-Finding Antenna362; An Intimate View 363

South Foreland in the 21st Century

A Magnificent Coastal Footpath369; The High Light Of A Visit374; Wartime Damage To The Optic 384; To The (Low) Lighthouse385; Cliffe House And The Remains Of The Old Engine House396


Our Lighthouse Heritage 401

Appendix 1

The Goodwin Sands 407

Appendix 2

Timeline for North Foreland 412; Timeline for South Foreland 412


Administration416; Employment418; Engineering418; Events422; History423; Illumination423; Keepers’425; Lighthouses426; Locations428; Optics432; Ships432; Social Context433; Trinity House435; People435

The Last Word