There are lighthouses all around our coast and they are not all the same! This is a rather special lighthouse called Herd Groyne Lighthouse

It is in the mouth of the River Tyne between the two main piers at North Shields and South Shields

d10-07-11 SS Groyne Lighthouse (11)

It stands on a fabulous steel structure which is very unusual for a lighthouse but there are good reasons for this and for other special design features.

There are 3 lighthouses in this picture. Why is the Groyne lighthouse needed? Surely the other two are easy for ships to spot!

Here are some models of the support structure made from plastic modeling foam, straws and paper tubes


Here there are only 6 straws supporting the lighthouse cabin base.


Here there are 12 straws supporting the lighthouse cabin base.

If we add weights on top of the structure we can compare the strength of each one.


This is a bigger version which has paper roll tube legs.

The next step is to ‘load’ the structure and observe what happens. It may, twist, bend, buckle and collapse!

We can try different ways of reinforcing the structure to make it even stronger.

More on the history and design of the lighthouse to follow soon!

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