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There are references of doubtful authenticity as to the erection of a lighthouse in Scarborough somewhere between 1801 and 1804, a small flat-topped building lit by a brazier atop, but the more reliable indicators are that the first (and present) lighthouse, designed by a surveyor by the name of Nixon, was built on Vincents Pier, adjoining the Harbour and South Beach in 1806. There are no surviving plans or drawings but the building was of brick construction with a flat top and surrounded by railings. As this generally matches the description attributed at the start of this paragraph one can only think that those early reports were in error as to the year.

Originally the light emanating from the building at night-time was provided by a coal brazier, later to be re-placed by some six tallow candles, hardly likely to provide a beacon of safety, succour and comfort to fog-bound mariners and within a few years the six-candle power light was boosted by the addition of a copper reflector behind the candles.

Subsequently facilities were improved with the erection of an adjoining residence for the harbourmaster.

Improvements were made to the lighthouse itself when the roof was leaded and the flag-floor replaced with boarding but, more significantly, some window frames were removed from the lantern-room window, giving a greater area of clear glass and thus improving light emission.