the Mumbles Lighthouse has guided vessels along the coast, past the hazards of the Mixon Shoal and safely into Swansea Bay.
The unmanned lighthouse is built on the outer of two islands, known as Mumbles Head. It is often said that the two islands of Mumbles Head resemble a pair of breasts, or ‘mamelles’ in French. Is this how the village got its unusual name? Mamelles, Mumbles, sound very similar don’t you think?
During the late eighteenth century the Swansea Harbour Trust was granted the power to provide a lighthouse at the outer Mumbles. The lighthouse, originally displaying the light from two open coal fires, one above the other to distinguish it from those at St Ann’s Head and Flatholm, was finally completed and lit in 1794.
The coal lights in braziers were expensive and difficult to maintain so were quickly replaced with a single oil powered light. The original two lights are still reflected in the two tier structure of the tower.
In 1883 the lighthouse keeper was Abraham Ace, and on the night of January 27th that year, his two daughters Jessie and Margaret heroically risked their lives, in attempting to save members of the crew of the Mumbles lifeboat, Wolverhampton. The lifeboat had gone out during the early morning of the ‘Great Storm’ of Saturday January 27th 1883, to assist the 885 ton barque, Admiral Prinz Adalbert of Danzig, Germany, when she drifted onto the outer island of Mumbles Head and was wrecked below the lighthouse.
Today, the lighthouse continues to keep sailors entering the bay safe with its solar panels powering the two Tideland lanterns that emit their light, bright into the night.