WADARC - Special Events from Perch Rock Lighthouse
GB8TS - GB8WA - GB2QE
The Wirral & District Amateur Radio Club operated from Perch Rock Lighthouse:-
OS Ref. SJ309947 - IO83LK - WAB SJ39
return (First visit 1984) of the Tall Ships in August 1992
GB8WA (Western Approaches) 50th Anniversary of "Battle of the Atlantic" in May 1993
GB2QE The First visit of the Cunard Liner QE2 in August 1994
GB2QE A return visit of the Cunard Liner QE2 in September 1995
My thanks to Vic G4UDR, Frank G8REQ
and Neil G4OAR for the photographs
and Gerry G8TRY for the historical details
The above pictures are but a
selection taken from a number of Special Event Stations
we were most fortunate to run from Perch Rock Lighthouse. These
were all with the
kind permission of the owner, Mr Norman Kingham. Since 1976,
he has with much
hard work, dedication and personal financial cost, maintained the lighthouse as
feature of the town of New Brighton at the entrance to the port of Liverpool.
major renovation of re-painting,
was completed in
returning it to pristine condition.
A Brief History of Perch Rock Lighthouse
Perch Rock Lighthouse, built on Black Rock, is situated in the mouth of the River Mersey approximately 5km NW of Liverpool Pier Head. It has been the site of a navigation light since 1683, pre-dating the town of New Brighton by about 200 years. Originally, the light was a burning flame mounted on a wooden perch, which later gave it's name to the present building on the site, and "Perch Rock Lighthouse" is the name that has stayed to this day.
The foundation for the lighthouse was laid on the 8th June 1827 by Thomas Littledale, the Mayor of Liverpool. The lighthouse was built of marble rock from Anglesey by Tomkinson & Company on similar lines to those of the Eddystone lighthouses. It is 90 feet high, of which the first 45 feet is solid. The marble blocks are cut in a dovetail fashion that interlock with each other. The outside is coated with cement made from volcanic ash from Mount Etna known as "Puzzellani" which is said to grow harder with age. The building was completed in 1830 and the revolving light. which could be seen for 14 miles, was said to be one of the first of it's type in the country. The light was finally switched off on the 1st October 1973, and Perch Rock Lighthouse moved into private ownership in 1976.
Also built on Black Rock, virtually a stones throw away from the lighthouse, stands Fort Perch Rock. This was built as a real fort for the New Brighton Battalion around 1800 at the time of the Napoleonic Wars when there was a need to guard the river mouth. The idea was conceived to replace the old Perch Light, but after much debate the two projects were built separately. The foundation stone for Fort Perch Rock was laid on the 31st March 1826. It is built of red sandstone from Runcorn and Claughton - both local quarries at the time. The walls are 32 feet high with 40 foot towers. Construction took just over 3 years with work completed on 30th April 1829. It was armed with a battery of eighteen guns, sixteen of which were thirty-two-pounders mounted on platforms. The guns only ever saw active service twice - once at the beginning of the First World War and once at the beginning of the Second. It is also credited with being the first test bed for marine RADAR in the UK. The fort was disbanded in 1954 and in 1958 it also moved into private ownership.
The GB2QE events marking the first visit of the Cunard Liner QE2 to Liverpool, came about by virtue of Vic G4UDR chatting with the then Chief Medical Office Dr Andrew Eardley G3UXO and the then Chief Radio Officer Jim Barlow G3VOU on a number of occasions in previous years. When it was announced the QE2 was coming to Liverpool, Vic made contact with Andrew and Jim and with the support of Cunard and Mr Norman Kingham suggested we combine the special event station with the liner's first visit, which is what precisely what we did. We chatted with both men on the QE2 from Perch Rock Lighthouse as the QE2 left Lisbon on it's voyage to Liverpool, changing to VHF once they passed the Liverpool Bar Lightship, which was about 6.30 am in the morning. It was a stunning site seeing the Liner coming over the horizon towards us in the grey morning mist.
As the final pictures show, Vic G4UDR was invited to join the QE2 while it was at anchor as a VIP guest to meet Dr Andrew Eardley G3UXO and Jim Barlow G3VOU and was privileged to visit both the radio room and the bridge before returning to shore.
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