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Ellesmere Port lighthouse; also known as Whitby lighthouse; is located at Whitby Locks, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire on the southern side of the River Mersey. The main function of the light was to guide boats into the Shropshire Union Railway and Canal's dock complex (now the Boat Museum) from the River Mersey. The canal was designed and built by Thomas Telford, the renowned canal and civil engineer, for the Upper Mersey Navigation Commissioners in 1796.
In 1874 the port and docks complex was owned by the London and North Western Railway Company who improved the area. On 24th November 1880 an engineer named Mr. Jebb was contracted to build a new lighthouse and this is the one that stands today. The tall red brick octagonal tower is 36 feet high; has an unusual hare bell shaped roof and is situated on the north pier above the river locks. The light was visible for 19 miles. Shipping came up the Mersey with the tide into the docks which at night were lit by the small lighthouse standing in the corner.
It operated successfully until the Manchester Ship Canal, which opened in 1894, reached Ellesmere Port in the same year when the lighthouse was made redundant. The Ship Canal cut off the direct access to the Mersey at Ellesmere Port (although access locks were built opposite the dock entrance) and canal users had to use a new canal entrance situated at Eastham Locks some three miles down stream thus making the lighthouse redundant.
The lighthouse and the Harbour Master's office is now a listed building and is situated on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal adjacent to the Boat Museum's lower basin.