The first major phase of a renovation programme to protect Shoreham Fort and improve the surrounding area has started.
The fort was built in the 1850’s as part of Prime Minister Lord Palmerston’s defences against a possible invasion by Emperor Napoleon III of France and is now an Ancient Monument requiring the work to be carried out carefully with respect to its historic significance. The work is being funded by English Heritage and Shoreham Port and is being carried out by a specialist firm, The Flintman of Lewes, with additional help by volunteers from the ‘Friends of Shoreham Fort’. This first phase of repairs involves repairing the worst of the damaged areas of the brickwork and flint walls, resetting a flight of granite sett steps and repairs to scoured areas of earth embankments.
Future plans for the Fort are already being discussed, with the intention of removing the disused coastguard tower, which was built on top of the fort in the 1960s. The tower must be taken down very carefully to ensure that no damage occurs to the brickwork of the original ammunition magazine underneath. Once the tower has gone, the magazine area can be renovated and a useful space created for the Friends of Shoreham Fort to use as an exhibition area. Half of the cost of this work has been secured by the Friends of Shoreham Fort from Adur District Council’s ‘Pot of Gold’ fund and matched funds, from Shoreham Port provides the rest.
The Friends of Shoreham Fort co-ordinator/founder Gary Baines is very passionate about the Fort’s history and has been actively involved in the restoration project for many years along with his group of volunteers. As well as undertaking regular maintenance work, Gary and the Friends of Shoreham Fort hold fund raising events at the Fort including an annual Canon Firing and re-enactments from every period of the fort’s history between 1857 and 1945. The next event is scheduled to take place on Saturday 4th June 2011. For further details please visit www.shorehamfort.co.uk
Tony Parker, Shoreham Port Director of Engineering commented “With the enthusiastic help of all the parties concerned, especially the Friends of Shoreham Fort, Adur District Council and English Heritage, we are really starting to make very significant improvements to this highly significant historic structure for the benefit of the whole community. This is by no means the end of our efforts, either. With help from our partners on the project, we hope to make further improvements year on year into the future”
The Fort is owned by Shoreham Port Authority and the adjacent car park and toilets are owned and managed by Adur District Council.