Join 3,523 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Winstanley's Eddystone lighthouse
September 5, 2012 8:11 AM   Subscribe

On 25 November 1703, despite a severe gale warning, Winstanley insisted on going out to the lighthouse again along with five men to carry out some necessary repairs. On the 26th, England was hit by an event still known as “The Great Storm”, even today the benchmark by which all storms in England are measured.
posted by Chrysostom (14 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
why would he be out on the day after Thanksgiving? Every knows the day after Thanksgiving is for laying on the couch and watching sports.
posted by spicynuts at 8:14 AM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are we sure that was The Great Storm and not The Great Wind?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:19 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Winstanley loved putting on spectacular shows, and doing construction he is unqualified to perform...so which Wachowski did he reincarnate as?
posted by TreeRooster at 8:23 AM on September 5, 2012


why would he be out on the day after Thanksgiving? Every knows the day after Thanksgiving is for laying on the couch and watching sports.

Time traveler Abraham Lincoln had yet to arrive in England to spread the holiday from the future and another country.

It's not that often you get such a direct story of an engineer/architect's hubris being tested with such fatal results, nifty.
posted by Atreides at 8:24 AM on September 5, 2012


To be fair, the chronicler just the day before had scoffed at the idea of any sort of storm hitting the area, but unfortunately he turned out to be an early ancestor of Michael Fish.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:35 AM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


A very similar story played out a couple hundred years later with the construction of Minot's Light off Scituate, Massachusetts. As a cost-cutting move, the original tower was constructed on a set of iron pilings and and was widely criticized for being under-engineered. It was completely destroyed during an 1851 gale which took the lives of the two assistant keepers who were on duty. A replacement tower, modeled after John Smeaton's replacement Eddystone Light
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:40 AM on September 5, 2012


Humans and animals were lifted into the air by the force of the gale. Windmills were blown about at such speed that the friction set them on fire.
We get all uptight about Katrina, but not one windmill caught fire.
posted by Malor at 8:47 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read and collect books on shipwrecks and maritime disasters. This is a fascinating tale as well as a reminder of the crucial role played by lighthouses in the days before GPS etc. Also, imagining what things were like just before the tower gave out around those six men is fodder for nightmares.

Thanks for posting.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:16 AM on September 5, 2012


Still remember the Eddystone Light story from the 1973 Blue Peter annual.

A more successful tale of lighthouse building is in The Lighthouse Stevensons.
posted by scruss at 9:27 AM on September 5, 2012


The Storm by Daniel DeFoe, has been called the first substantial work of modern journalism, the first account of a hurricane in Britain, and was the first book-length work of Defoe's career. See Writing up a Storm (WSJ).
posted by stbalbach at 10:24 AM on September 5, 2012


This was interesting to me, because on long road trips from St. Louis to Maine and back, we six kids would join our mom in singing a bunch of old folk songs, one of which was "The Eddystone Light." Lyrics here, the song here by the Brothers Four, who stretch it out to two minutes with a solemn intro and a stately pace - and nice shots of the new lighthouse. (The Weavers give it a sillier treatment with misspelled lyrics here).
posted by kozad at 10:38 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eddystone is an amazing rock. Even more so due to the fact that there's an annual expedition to row or paddle out to it .
posted by ambrosen at 12:30 PM on September 5, 2012


Windmills were blown about at such speed that the friction set them on fire.

There is a new addition in the Jungian land of my nightmares, and it is a burning windmill, set alight by its own designed purpose gone mad in The Great Storm.
posted by chambers at 5:54 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


While I knew the Eddystone Light (as in the song about its keeper) was a real place, I didn't know anything about it. I love these little tiny pieces of history.
posted by immlass at 7:07 PM on September 5, 2012


« Older One week after telling Australian workers that the...  |  The world's hardest radio quiz... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments