Arbroath’s Signal Tower Museum has shone new light on an important piece of local maritime heritage with the re-opening of the Bell Rock lens room after several years in the shade.
Closed since 2010, the lens room has undergone an extensive refurbishment, thanks to funding from the Northern Lighthouse Heritage Trust.
The seafront building’s keepers, ANGUSalive, can now show the stunning lens in a new and contemporary display that highlights its structure and beauty.
Museum officer Kirsten Couper said: “We are all delighted to open the doors to the lens room once again.
“We are often asked by visitors about the lens and having this space re-opened is a wonderful addition to the telling of the story of the Bell Rock lighthouse.
“We are sure the public will share our pleasure at seeing the new lens room.”
Originally the shore station for Robert Stevenson’s Bell Rock lighthouse, which lies 11½ miles off the Angus coastline, the Signal Tower now acts as a beacon of local heritage, promoting education and learning, as well as illuminating visitors on the history of lighthouses and lighthouse keeping.
The Bell Rock is the world’s oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse and has protected the Angus coastline and its people using a number of different lighting and lens mechanisms since its completion in 1811.
Its electrification in 1964 saw it fitted with a new powerful light – surrounded by eight panels of lenses – which was originally used by the Isle of Man’s Chicken Rock Lighthouse.
The lens was then gifted to the Signal Tower Museum by Northern Lighthouse Board in 1988 during the automation of the lighthouse.
Refurbishment work has included some restoration of the lens and its mechanism and the museum room features new interpretation panels explaining the history of lighthouse lenses and lighting mechanisms as well as graphics giving a photographic panorama of the view from the Bell Rock itself.
Children from Arbroath’s Timmergreens primary and local band Slipway combined at the re-opening ceremony to perform the Bell Rock Light and The Smokie Song for invited guests that included Peter Mackay, chairman of the Northern Lighthouse Heritage Trust.