Paull is situated on the north bank of the Humber seven miles south-east of Hull and is the only riverside village downstream of the city. Hull grew to be a major port mainly because of the existence of the deep-water channel which swings across the estuary and approaches very close to the north bank at precisely this point; this channel is, however, narrow and hedged in with sandbanks, so navigating it is a very precise art!

Modern technology has reduced the risks, but back in the early 19th century sailors needed help in getting in and out of the port and lighthouses were one important method. The lighthouses at Paull all face towards Hull and were built to aid ships leaving the Hull docks and guide them along the deep-water channel; in 1836 Trinity House, who are responsible for all lighthouses in the British Isles, decided to build a lighthouse at Paull as an aid to navigation from the port of Hull : as they left Hull ships would steer for the light at Paull and once they reached Paull they would realign towards similar lighthouses on the south bank and follow the channel further out into the estuary and eventually out into the North Sea.

Unfortunately the sandbanks are continually shifting and need constant dredging for them to maintain their position. In the 19th century they didn't have the same technology as we have today so when the channel moved place, the ships had to sail along a different course and not towards the lighthouse at Paull. So the lighthouse in the village became obsolete and had to be replaced by new lights further downriver, at Thorngumbald Clough.

These new lights are "leading lights" and were more sophisticated than the first lighthouse in that they had to be aligned ; when they were seen in a straight line one above the other, the ship's captain would know he was on the correct course for the deep-water channel.

The old lighthouse stood derelict for several years but was eventually bought and converted into a dwelling, and subsequent alterations and extensions have turned it into a very individual and desirable home indeed! The lights at Thorngumbald Clough are still operating although there has been some discussion around whether to re-site them when the sea defences are re-aligned in a "managed retreat" (see the Paull Village Enhancement Scheme for details) and the keeper's cottage was demolished in 1998.

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