Keepers of the Light, 2019-20

Book, film, installations

The Portland Bill lighthouse is iconic. Operational from 1906, it was equipped with a magnificent First Order catadioptric rotating lens from Chance Brothers of Smethwick, about as far away from the sea as you can get. Based on rare archive materials, people’s stories and oral histories, the project explored both this unique island in Dorset and the legendary glassworks in the Black Country, at the time of construction of the light and then some 50 years later, when the lighthouse engineering works was about to close. Portland Bill is one of the most visited lighthouses in the UK, and a familiar sight to generations of holidaymakers from the West Midlands. Chance Glassworks itself is a site of great historical and cultural significance; these days only a few of the buildings remain, which are Grade II listed and site is a Scheduled Monument. Brendan Jackson led on the production of printed material and Geoff Broadway led on the production of film material, and jointly curated a series of temporary exhibitions and events in both locations in partnership with Sandwell Community and Archives Service, Chance Heritage Trust, Smethwick Heritage Centre, and arts organisation b-side on Portland.

Book details: Keepers of the Light - Portland Bill and Chance Glasswork ISBN 979-1-5272-4396-5. Hardback, 228 mm x 170 mm, 128 pages.

For current availability of the book, contact: or

View some sample pages: pp4-9.pdf and pp80-85.pdf

View the film work here:

Or view the Instagram feed:


Thanks to: Sandwell Community History & Archives Service, Smethwick Heritage Centre, Chance Heritage Trust, b-side, Portland Museum, Portland Local & Family History Centre.

Supported by Arts Council of England; production of heritage map supported by Smethwick Local Area Budget.