Friday, November 13, 1998 Published at 21:46 GMT
Eddystone lights candles on 300th birthday
Lighting the way: Winstanley, Rudyerd and Smeaton's Eddystone lighthouses
Britain's most famous lighthouse, the Eddystone, is celebrating its 300th birthday.
Just up the coast, at North Foreland, the UK's last lighthouse keepers hang up their hats on 26 November.
Throughout its extraordinary life, the Eddystone lighthouse has been a beacon to changes in UK lighthouses.
It has undergone four incarnations, had disaster and tragedy thrown at its door.
During his labours he was kidnapped by French pirates.When he was finally released, his creation was destroyed by one of the greatest storms this century.
Still, it had lasted five years and the next man to have a stab was John Rudyerd. He too went for wood but chose an octagonal shape.
It lasted 47 years until it was floored by fire. Unfortunately keeper Henry Hall died, not from the blaze but through swallowing molten lead from the roof.
It was dismantled and James Douglass's tower - the Eddystone of today - was completed on a neighbouring rock in 1882.
It was a sad day for some when the last keepers left.
"Those at the Eddystone were special because when you've been blundering around in the Atlantic, you always looked to that lighthouse to know if you were safe."
Now its influence is taking hold again he is philosophical rather than sad.
"I suppose we have outlived our usefulness. The technology seems good, so we just have to find something else to do," he said.
When he and his colleagues leave on 26 November, a way of life will have come to an end.
Often several generations of a family succeeded each other in the profession. Many of their exploits have become folklore or part of public record.
But as one chapter closes, another opens. Eddystone is next year to embrace another change - solar power.