Isle of Man Post Office is delighted to mark this significant year by offering a bird's eye view of these most familiar Island landmarks in a set of four panoramic stamps utilising drone aerial photography in partnership with Duke Marketing.
This year, 2018 sees the 200th anniversary of the very first permanent lighthouses on the Isle of Man and they are marvels of Georgian innovation.
Positioned in the middle of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man provided a severe danger to 18th century ships trading in between Ireland, Scotland and England; without any lights to mark its treacherous coast during the night it was the scene of numerous shipwrecks. Merchants from the surrounding ports petitioned the authorities on many events and ultimately, in 1815, an Act of Parliament broke the ice for the building of 3 lights on the Island: one at its northern pointer, the Point of Ayre, and 2 on the Calf of Man, a little island off its south-western suggestion.
The lights were built and run by the Northern Lighthouse Board, based in Edinburgh, under among the best civil engineers of the age, Robert Stevenson, their Chief Engineer.
The Point of Ayre was remote; there were no roadways to it in 1816 and the location of the light tower was surrounded by a substantial shingle bank that was gradually moving to the south east. The Calf of Man was likewise remote, and its circumstance wasn't assisted by the activities of its tenant who didn't desire the lighthouses constructed.
Stevenson none the less, managed to build 2 spectacular lights on the Calf, each with their keepers' enclosures and homes. The 2 lights were developed in line with the Chicken Rock reef, and as ships passed, and the lights appeared straight above each other, mariners knew the reef's location and might safely avoid it.
Stevenson embellished the light towers with dolphins, the Three Legs of Man and other themes, quietly integrated into the ironwork around the light chamber windows. Today, the lights on the Calf lie in ruins. In the 1870s a rock light tower was constructed on the Chickens Rock to mark it, and the Calf lights were turned off.
The light at the Point of Ayre, however, is still in operation, though it was automated in 1993. It has its original Fresnel lens from 1890 and it shows 4 flashes of white every twenty seconds. The tower now has a distinct daymark of 2 red bands and is among the renowned structures of the Isle of Man.
52p: The Point of Ayre lighthouse, dwelling and service buildings
£1.53: The 'Winkie' automatic light, foghorn and Point of Ayre lighthouse
£2.60: Aligned to the Chickens' Rock are the upper and lower Calf of Man lights either side of a modern light in use 1968 – 2007
£3.10: The upper Calf of Man light, view to the west coast of the Isle of Man