West Usk lighthouse, Newport
This lighthouse once marked the entrance to the river channel leading to the busy docks at Newport. It was designed by Scottish architect James Walker, the first of his 22 lighthouses, and built by local builders John Williams and Ben Batchelor. The lantern was lit for the first time in December 1821. Originally the lighthouse stood on a small island. In 1856 land was reclaimed in the area, and a road to the building was created.
The lighthouse, which stands almost 17 metres (55ft) tall, was decommissioned in 1922. It was used as a house but had fallen into disrepair by the Second World War, when it was used as a lookout post.
It was used again as a private home from the late 1960s until 1982, when it again fell into disrepair. Five years later Frank and Danielle Sheahan bought the structure and spent two years restoring it. They now run it as a guesthouse. The lantern room was restored in 1997, with financial help from the Wales Tourist Board and Cadw.
In 2012 the Institution of Civil Engineers installed a plaque near the lighthouse to commemorate the 150th anniversary of James Walker’s death. He was the ICE’s second president, taking over in 1834 from Thomas Telford, and from 1825 to 1862 was consulting engineer for Trinity House, the charity which has maintained Britain’s lighthouses since Tudor times.
Postcode: NP10 8SF