Malin Head

Lloyd’s Signalling Tower

Lloyd’s Signalling Tower Malin Head Built in 1884



The first tower used by Lloyds was built at Malin Head in 1805 was first used by the admiralty. The metal lattice mast shown above was photographed in 1902. This was built in 1884. Semaphore was used to communicate with passing ships and also keepers on the Inishtrahull Island.


We know that the Marconi Wireless Telegraph mast that was put on the site in 1901/2 was 120 feet (36.5m) high and built close to the semaphore tower which would give is a very good idea on height of the signaling tower which was approximately 60 feet high (18.3m).


The first models of the semaphore had rectangular arms, counterbalanced by a lead weight at the end of a latticed extension. They were to be one foot long for each mile of distance, and the width less than 2/13 but greater than 1/7 or 1/8 of the length. The arms, normally 5 to 6 feet long (1.5m to 1.6m), were 'panelled' with vertical slats that could be made from light copper sheet. This style of arm, which persisted here and there until much later, is often said to have been made so to reduce wind resistance, but the true reason seems to be to make the arm as light as possible.


The semaphore system would have been in operation for many years after the instillation of the wireless telegraph. Not all ships had the Marconi radios fitted in the early years and still relied on semaphore.