For centuries, two lights were kept burning on this clifftop to warn mariners of the danger of “The Great Shippe Swallower”, the Goodwin sands. More than 1000 ships are known to have been lost across 500 years. The current towers were built in the 1840s. In 1858, it became the first lighthouse to be lit by electricity when Michael Faraday carried out experiments here.
By 1904, the shifting of the Goodwin Sands meant that the alignment of the lights was no longer a useful guide, and the lower light was decommissioned, though the tower still stands - you can see it near the edge of the cliff. Around the same time, the upper light was fitted with its rotating optic, becoming a flashing signal. It was decommissioned in the 1980s, and has been looked after by the National Trust ever since. Its light shone again
to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee in 2012.