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Belle Tout

In February 1822, John Fuller witnessed the grounding near Eastbourne of the East Indiaman Thames that resulted in the loss of six lives. Fuller subsequently added his money and political influence to boost a petition to build a lighthouse at Beachy Head that had been ignored by the lighthouse authority for over a century.

In 1828, Fuller paid for a wooden lighthouse to be built on top of the cliffs. This was subsequently replaced by a granite and limestone structure that Fuller did not live to see completed. The name Belle Tout was taken from the highpoint on which the lighthouse stands. It is not actually French, but is derived from the Celtic words 'Bael' (God of War) and 'Tout' (Lookout).

Also in 1828, Fuller paid for the construction and establishment of the first lifeboat service in Eastbourne. The first vessel, measuring 25 feet, had a rose carved on its bow and was credited with the saving of 55 lives.

Belle Tout lighthouse remained in service until 1902, when it was replaced by the circular granite tower at the base of the cliffs around a mile to the east. Part of the reason for this was that it was difficult to see the light from below or in thick fog.

Belle Tout has become a well-known landmark on the Sussex coast. The lighthouse has appeared in a number of productions, including the James Bond movie The Living Daylights. In 1999 the entire building was moved 17 metres back from the cliff edge, as coastal erosion had placed it in danger of collapsing into the sea.

Sources:
Wikipedia - Belle Tout lighthouse
John "Mad Jack" Fuller
Belletoute.org.uk
SCABAL - Belle Tout lighthouse

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Comment by Mark Duncan on February 14, 2013 at 12:30am

Thanks Bear. Sorry I missed this comment.

Comment by Bear on November 15, 2012 at 6:14am

Powerful image to go with a powerful story.

Comment by Mark Duncan on November 1, 2012 at 8:09pm

Thanks a lot Susie and Jerry

Comment by Jerry Olschki on November 1, 2012 at 12:55pm

Great shot.  Love the drama of the capture and the story.

Comment by Susie Foss on November 1, 2012 at 10:28am

Wow..this is so beautiful!

Comment by Mark Duncan on November 1, 2012 at 7:47am

Thanks Heather, Iris and Michael. This is over a mile to the west, and some way below the top of Beachy Head, and over half a mile east of Birling Gap (with a hill in between). The main focus is usually the Beachy Head lighthouse and the Seven Sisters, so actually a lot of people miss it.

Comment by Michael Rothon on November 1, 2012 at 5:48am

Many a long year since my last visit here,so long in fact that I don't remember the lighthouse.M

Comment by Iris Lott on November 1, 2012 at 3:52am

Really nice.  Must be a great view from the top.

Comment by Heather Lara on November 1, 2012 at 3:49am

Wow very neat. Love it...!

Comment by Mark Duncan on November 1, 2012 at 2:15am

Thanks Harvey

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