The History of Belle Toute Lighthouse
1691 petitions for a lighthouse were made due to the number
of shipwrecks and sailors losing their lives at the hands of
this dangerous stretch of coastline.
as a continuing result of many shipwrecks, a wooden
lighthouse was built on the top of the cliffs at Beachy
It came into operation on the 1st October 1828. So successful was this
temporary structure that an agreement was granted to
build a permanent lighthouse.
W Hallett and J Walker began design of the new lighthouse in
Construction of Belle Toute started in 1832 using Aberdeen
granite and local limestone.
The Belle Toute Lighthouse came into operation operation on
the 11th October 1834 and the light from the 30 Argand lamps
was thrown 22 miles out to sea.
The location of the lighthouse
was carefully planned so that the light would be obscured by the
edge of the cliff if sailors were too close to the shore.
years erosion of the cliff reduced the effectiveness of the
lighthouse and in 1902 Belle Toute was decommissioned when
the new lighthouse built at the base of the cliffs came into
it was sold by Trinity House and changed hands a number of
it was bought by a surgeon, Sir James Purves-Stewart.
the second world war with its owners being evacuated, Belle
Toute was damaged due to shelling by Canadian Troops using it
as target practice.
Sir James offered the building to the council and eventually
they took it over due to its historical significance.
Belle Toute was leased out to Dr Edward Revill Cullinan who
carried out works on the building and installed modern
features such as septic tank, mains electricity and water.
the lease was sold and changed hands a number of times.
it was bought by the BBC who used it in the making of Fay
Weldon’s “Life and Loves of a She-Devil”.
it was bought by Mark and Louise Roberts to use as a family
In 1999, due to continuing erosion threatening the future of
the building the lighthouse was moved 17 metres (56 feet)
back from the edge of the cliff by the impressing
engineering work of
the Roberts' have put Belle Toute up for sale with the guide
price of £850,000.
In 2007 the Belle Toute Lighthouse Preservation Trust has
been formed to raise enough money to purchase the lighthouse
to open it to the public, provide bed and breakfast
accommodation and maintain it for future generations of
visitors to enjoy.
In April 2008 Belle Toute was purchased by the Belle Toute
Lighthouse Company Limited with the intention of opening it
to the public as a hotel.
In May 2008 the Belle Toute Lighthouse Preservation Trust
wound-up although Rob Wassell maintains this website as an
information resource for this fascinating and magnificent
What's in a name
to find out from where the name Belle Toute originates.
Your photos and experiences
We want to create the most
comprehensive library about the lighthouse and the
surrounding area that we can although we need your help
to do it.
If you could send in your pictures
or send in your words we
will add this information to our archive and the