Battery, situated on the North of the Wirral Peninsular,
was built to defend the entrance to the Mersey and
consequentially the city in 1827. At the
same time as the Fort was under construction so to was a
lighthouse. The Rock that the Fort and
Lighthouse now stands on was the site of a sandstone
reef that had been a hazard to shipping.
Interestingly the name Perch Rock, came before they were
built as the hazard the outcrop of rock gave to shipping
meant it had a wooden post or "perch" on
it. The post or perch then had at night a beacon
blazing away, fired by wood. The Perch was
continually being swept away by storms. After such a
storm in 1824, the Dock Committee was considering
building a more permanent structure.
There were already plans to build a fort or battery on
the Black Rock to protect the Port of Liverpool, so a
suggestion was put forward to combine the proposed
battery with a lighthouse.
foundation stone of Fort Perch Rock was laid by the
Mayor of Liverpool, Peter Bourne Esq. in 1826 and built
to maximize firepower over the seaward approaches to
Liverpool via the Crosby Channels. The foundation
stone of the lighthouse was laid on 8 June 1827 and was
completed on 1 March 1830. It was manned by two
lighthouse keepers who had residence in the light house,
but by June that year the need for another keeper was
high and another was found.
Rock Lighthouse was designed by John Foster and was
based on John Smeaton's Eddystone Lighthouse of 1756.
Originally named the Rock Light, the lighthouse had lots
of names from Black Rock Light, Rock Perch Light, but it
was in the 1870's that the name Perch Rock Light became
the keepers were made redundant when the operation of
the light was made fully automatic.
was still a major defense for the port of Liverpool up
to the Second World War. During the war a radar
station was installed and is believed to be the first in
Britain. The fort also had direction
finders and loud speakers. The only time the guns were
used in the Second World War was against a German U-boat
in the Liverpool Bay.
in the Fort were fired for the last time in 1951 for the
Festival of Britain celebrations. Three years later the
guns were removed to Woolwich Arsenal and the fort
decommissioned. There followed a period of uncertainty.
The War Office offered the fort to Liverpool and
Wallasey Corporations, both of whom declined the offer.
In 1958, Tommy Mann, along with a partner bought the
fort for £4000.00, but in 1969 the fort changed hands
again. This time the Fort was taken over by
R Ainsworth, who then converted the buildings into an
amusement arcade, cafe and night-club. These
ventures were unsuccessful and in 1976 the fort was
flooded and vandalized.
from the lighthouse shone for the last time in 1973 and
the lighthouse was sold to Norman Kingham, a local
businessman and architect, who also then bought the fort
and started a program of restoration work to make it
into a museum. He
installed mains electricity into the Lighthouse and
converted the building into a honeymoon retreat.
The lighthouse was sold again, along with the fort to
Douglas Darroch in January 1997.
Fort is in private hands and boasts a museum.
There is plenty of restoration yet to do, and with the
help of the visitors to the Fort, it is hoped to
preserve it as an historical monument.
Both are now Grade Two Listed buildings.