Keepers of the Light, 2019

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 and people’s stories, 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. One of the most visited lighthouses in the UK, Portland Bill is 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 and Geoff Broadway worked on the production of a book, a short film, a heritage map as well as a series of temporary exhibitions.

For current availability of the book, contact: or

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

View the film work here:

Thanks to: Sandwell Community History & Archives Service, Smethwick Heritage Centre, Chance Glassworks 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.