Just on the edge of London lies an architectural and military marvel — a derelict relic of the time Britain feared invasion by France.

(c) Landmark Trust

This was part of an early communications network, putting huge semaphore signals on top of tall towers that could then relay messages exceptionally quickly between the seaports and London. Most were torn down, but this one, on the edge of London survived, but in an increasingly perilous state.

Although occupied as a home until the 1960s, it was banned as a home due to the lack of modern facilities and abandoned, was badly damaged by fire in 1984.

The tower was given restoration work by Surrey Council in 1989 and was occasionally open to the public, but today its condition makes that impossible.

The tower has though now been taken over by the historic building’s charity, the Landmark Trust, and they’ve been on a fundraising campaign to save the tower. And last week, they hit the £50,000 fundraising target and the tower has been saved.

(c) Landmark Trust

They can now press ahead in the hope of starting restoration work later this year, with completion possible by the end of next year. They are seeking a main contractor to lead the project, whilst finalising all the necessary consents. The confirmed programme will become clearer in the next few months.

When the works are completed, as with other Landmark Trust buildings, it will be rented out as a rather grand Bed & Breakfast, so anyone can spend a few nights sleeping in the tower.

It’ll also likely be open to the public on occasional open days.


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