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bow creek lighthouse

London's only lighthouse is back up and running again

It’s part of a new art installation that connects two sides of the Thames

Written by
Rhian Daly

It’s been a long time since any light shone out of London’s only lighthouse but, thanks to a new art installation, it’s back to its beacon-like best. 

The old Bow Creek Lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf, near Canning Town, closed down in the late 19th century, but since September 30 has been beaming a ray of light over the river to North Greenwich. 

Titled Sonic Ray, it’s a new project from Artangel that sees the two banks of the Thames connected by the beam. When it reaches the north side of the river, the light lands on another art piece – Richard Wilson’s Slice Of Reality sculpture, which takes the form of a cross-section of an old ship. 

The beam that is emitted from the Bow Creek Lighthouse serves another purpose than mere illumination, though. It also transmits the sound of ‘Longplayer’, Jem Finer’s 1,000-year-long piece of music, which has been playing at the lighthouse since December 31, 1999. Slice Of Reality, meanwhile, acts as a listening post, with visitors able to take a ferry ride between the two spots. 

Sonic Ray will be on display from dusk every Wednesday to Sunday until November 21. Tickets, which include the ferry, cost £7.50, or £5 for concessions.

Trinity Buoy Wharf, 64 Orchard Place, E14 0JW

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