Sheringham Point, in the community of Shirley, about 16 miles northwest from Race Rocks near the south end of Vancouver Island, was named in 1846 for the British Vice Admiral William Louis Sheringham of the Royal Navy. The wreck of the steamer Valencia nearby in 1906, with the loss of at least 126 lives, had put pressure on the Canadian government to improve navigation. To aid shipping along the Canadian side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a light station was established at Sheringham Point in 1912. A 64-foot-tall hexagonal, reinforced concrete tower was built along with a dwelling and outbuildings.
A flashing white light shown from a third-order Fresnel lens, rotating on a bed of mercury and 72 feet above the water, was visible for 14 miles. The station began operation on September 30, 1912. The station was very isolated in its early days, and a lighthouse tender delivered supplies every few months.
The Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society was founded in 2003 to preserve the remaining structures and to ensure that the site remains accessible to visitors. Much of the surrounding land is now privately owned.
Rebecca Quinn is a PhD student at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, but she considers British Columbia her real home. In 2013, Rebecca was elected to be the historian of the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society. She worked with Society volunteers to create the book Sheringham: A Canadian Heritage Story, which was published last year.
John Walls is the author of a book called Celebrating Victoria, about one of Canada’s most beautiful cities. He was also the photographer for Government Street, about Victoria’s Heritage Mile. And in 2015, he co-authored, with Peter Johnson, the book To the Lighthouse: An Explorer’s Guide to the Island Lighthouses of Southwestern BC. John is the vice president of the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Society.
This part 2 of 2. Part 1 (episode 104) featured an interview with Elanie Bruton, daughter of Sheringham Point keeper Jim Bruton.
Use the player below to hear the podcast:
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org