When you next view our live webcam and look out across the Hoe and see the Plymouth breakwater and lighthouse…did you know?
For over 181-years the Plymouth breakwater and lighthouse at its tip – is one of the most spectacular landmarks in the UK. And for residents lucky to live on the Hoe and see this iconic piece of British engineering every day – you can sometimes forget the powerful significance the breakwater plays in the maritime life of the city.
The Plymouth breakwater took 30 years to build and opened in 1841, and cost £1.5 million (£85 million in today’s prices) and required 4 million tonnes of stone, and almost as much stone as the ancient Egyptian Pyramid in Giza – and is still regularly replenished with huge block stones that is strategically sunk around the breakwater.
When the Plymouth Sound breakwater opened it was described as one of Europe’s top engineering feats and the ‘Channel Tunnel of its time’.
One of Plymouth most famous prison visitors Napoleon Bonaparte passing through the city onboard HMS Bellerophon, said: “The Plymouth breakwater was a ‘highly honourable achievement’.
The historic breakwater lighthouse was completed in 1844, and Plymothians could visit the breakwater from one end to the other (nearly a mile long) for a shilling a time on a horse and cart that was specially transported out to the breakwater on a boat from the Barbican.
In 1952, an Exmoor Pony made the local headlines when it was mysteriously discovered on the breakwater with no explanation how it got there?
Plymouth’s breakwater is still one of the nation’s largest free standing marine structures and is visible from all view points across the Sound.
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