"The Chapman lighthouse"
Chapman lighthouse (far left) depicted in The paddle steamer Crested Eagle running down the Thames Estuary, her deck crowded with passengers (1927)
Public DomainThe Chapman Lighthouse (far left) depicted in The paddle steamer Crested Eagle running down the Thames Estuary, her deck crowded with passengers (1927) - Credit: Jack Spurling

The Chapman lighthouse was a screw-pile lighthouse which stood off the coast of Canvey Island in the Thames Estuary from 1851 to 1957, warning sailors away from the area’s numerous mud flats. Designed by the engineer James Walker, the lighthouse was built on the water supported by seven legs (it may have looked like three legs from a distance as described in the novel) so that waves could pass underneath the construction without major resistance. It was eventually demolished after falling into a state of disrepair.

 

 

Further reading:

Janet Penn, The Rise and Fall of the Chapman Lighthouse