• Short Summary

    A look at the technology behind a modern lighthouse.

  • Description

    Dungeness, Kent.

    Exterior. L/S of a lighthouse and its surrounding buildings and masts at twilight. The light at the top of the lighthouse revolves slowly. According to the narrator the lighthouse is "a symbol of our seafaring heritage".

    Interior. M/S of a room inside the Lighthouse filled with grey panels of radio equipment. A lighthouse keeper, Mr. Thomas Edward Dowsett, enters and opens up the door to the radio beacon to make adjustments inside. C/U of the dials and switches on the door of the radio beacon. The radio beacon transmits a signal every five minutes so that ships can get a navigational fix.

    M/S of a room half way up the lighthouse containing the subsidiary light. Mr. D. appears at the top of the staircase. He uses a large green can to pour paraffin into the brass funnel at the top of the light.

    Low angle M/S of a fixed brass ladder to the top of the lighthouse. Mr. D. climbs the ladder. C/U of Mr. D. standing in front of the enormous red lamp. He lights the wick and adjusts the flame. He uses tong to place the bulb-shaped mantle over the flame. According to the narrator the main lamp burns two and a quarter pints a paraffin every hour. The light shines through six hundred prisms mounted in ten panels allowing the light to be seen seventeen miles away. C/U of the glowing mantle.

    Crawley, West Sussex. Interior. M/S of a factory floor. In the foreground is a large red lighthouse lamp revolving slowly. In the background a man is working on what appears to be a "flying saucer". A second man joins the first and they begin fixing a piece of copper piping to the "flying saucer". The narrator reveals that the "flying saucer" is in fact the turret that houses the light. C/U of the pipe being fitted.

    M/S of Mr. Len Seddon, the supervising optics assemble foreman, studying a plan of the lighthouse lens. He picks up the lens lying beside the plan and fits it onto the half assembled light. The narrator explains he is fitting a 'bullseye' lens destined for a lighthouse off Trinidad. Various shots of Len fitting the lens with the help of his young assistant, Maurice Farmer.

    Low angle M/S of William Hone adjusting the automatic lamp changer. He is using a screwdriver to make adjustments to an electric panel below the revolving bulbs. The automatic lamp changer ensures against bulb failure.

    C/U, taken through the lamp, of the face of Douglas Harmer distorted by glass.

    M/S of Edward Mordant and Ernest Smith working on a system of pulleys and cogs - a "multicatoptric" - a device used on a lightship to keep the light level even when the sea is rough. M/S of the light swinging. Tilt down to a weighted pendulum on the end of the light's central post.

    M/S of John Luck fiddling with one of three generators. He walks over to a panel of electrical dials and switches. Various shots of the dials and John taking measurements from them - "the lighthouse keeper of today has to be trained as an electrician as well as other lighthouse duties".

    Exterior. M/S of a revolving fog detector. In the background a snow covered field and trees are visible. Various shots of the detector at work. M/S of a siren letting off fog signals.

    Exterior. L/S of the lighthouse in Dungeness at night. M/S of the top of the lighthouse with the shining lamp revolving.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Colour pictorials
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Time in/Out:
    01:53:22:00 / 01:57:17:00
    CP 168

Comments (1)

  1. Unknown user says

    The Optical Supervisor in this film, Mr Len Seddon is my Grandad. It was great to see him in action. Many thanks...

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