Earliest aids to navigation were beacons sited near harbours or ports rather than on headlands or reefs to help ships reach their destination. Sea faring families would sometimes show lights from dwellings helping their own boats to arrive home safely.
Constructing lighthouses was a difficult and dangerous task, with engineers using considerable skills. Following construction of the lighthouse, adequate lighting apparatus to display a continuous uninterrupted light. Just imagine coal, candles, wood, oil and paraffin before electricity.
Whitby harbour in Yorkshire has four lights at it’s entrance (not all operational). In November 1998 the last manned lighthouse at North Foreland was automated ending a tradition that went back more than four centuries.