The prominent memorial on Hoad Hill was built in 1850 in honour of Sir John Barrow, a naval explorer and Second Secretary to the Admiralty, who was born in Ulverston. It is a replica of an early version of the Eddystone Lighthouse.
On the 15th of May 1850, the foundation stones of the lighthouse monument were laid by the two sons of Sir John Barrow. There were huge celebrations in the town, with a procession, a religious service, and much rejoicing. The monument was finished by the end of 1850, and was promptly struck by lightning, causing nine stones to be dislodged from the cupola. It was fixed up, and a lightning conductor fitted.
The total cost to build the monument was £1,250, and a further £136 to repair the lightning damage. Most of this was paid for by public subscription, and £100 was provided by Trinity House on condition that the monument had the capability to be used as a real lighthouse if deemed necessary at some future time.
Since then, the monument has survived the elements, with the help of several restorations, the most recent of which was completed in 2010 at the cost of £1.2 million.
Nowadays, it is maintained by a team of volunteer lighthouse keepers. It is open to the public on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from 1pm to 5pm, from Easter to the end of October, when the flag on the hill is flying. The monument can be hired for weddings and other celebrations.