January 4, 2023
Last Updated on May 15, 2023
The Landmark Trust’s Martello Tower in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, required repointing to repair brickwork that had been damaged through erosion by the sea and harsh coastal weather. This restoration project was awarded funding by the Culture Recovery Fund as part of a wider undertaking to repair the historic properties in The Landmark Trust’s portfolio.
Whitworth oversaw the restoration work, collaborating with local building restoration firm F.A. Valiant and Son Ltd.
Martello Towers are relatively small defensive forts that were built during the 19th century across the British Empire, some of which still stand today. There are a number of Martello Towers on the southern and eastern coasts of England that have become modern landmarks, visible from afar thanks to their 40 ft (or so) height and 39-49 ft diameter.
These robust structures were designed to survive cannon fire, while serving as a platform for heavy artillery. Inside, each tower could typically hold a garrison of around 15 to 25 men. However, the efficacy of Britain’s towers were never actually tested in a Napoleonic invasion, and soon after this period, many Martello Towers in the UK were utilised by The Coastguard to prevent smuggling.
Today, while some Martello Towers are derelict, others have been restored and are now used as private residences, museums, galleries and more. Many have become Listed Buildings.
Repointing the historic brickwork
The Martello Tower in Aldeburgh, Suffolk is owned by The Landmark Trust, and is noted for its unique clover-leaf shape and circular curtain wall surround, half of which has disappeared into the sea over the years. It stands at the foot of the Orford Ness peninsula, between the River Alde and the sea. The interior has been restored and houses holiday accommodation.
F.A. Valiant and Son Ltd were appointed by the Trust to carry out repointing required on the brickwork of the curtain wall. After Whitworth analysed the project and decided on the use of a stronger mortar than what would be used on structures further inland in order to withstand the harsh marine environment, F.A. Valiant and Son Ltd completed the repointing to a high standard.
With the curtain wall newly repointed, visitors to the area can now enjoy the well-preserved building as they pass on their walks, and guests of the Trust can benefit from a fuller Martello Tower experience during their stays.
This project is just one example of how we work with clients to conduct sympathetic restoration work to historic buildings. To find out more about our historic building work, browse our portfolio.