Plaque is tribute to builder of Newport lighthouse

THE engineer behind the West Usk Lighthouse near Newport has been remembered 150 years after his death.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Wales Cymru has unveiled a commemorative plaque in memory of James Walker, who was responsible for the construction of numerous lighthouses around the coast of Britain, including three in Wales.

West Usk Lighthouse, at St Brides, was his first, constructed in 1821 to serve ships using the Bristol Channel and the River Severn.

Between 1825 and 1862, he was consulting engineer to Trinity House – the charitable organisation concerned with the safety of shipping and the well-being of seafarers since the granting of a Royal Charter by Henry VIII.

Ian Davies, outgoing chairman of ICE Wales Cymru, unveiled the plaque on the Wales Coastal Path near the lighthouse, which is now a small private hotel.

A presentation of a framed copy of the plaque was also made to lighthouse owners Frank and Danielle Sheahan in the presence of representatives of Newport council and Newport Local History Society.

Richard Coackley, current president of the ICE, said Mr Walker played a major part in the birth of professional civil engineering.

“The plaque will continue to celebrate the part he played in overseeing construction of a comprehensive lighthouse network around our coast for the safety of our nation’s global shipping fleet,” he added.

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