On the 19th May a large group of ladies (about 60 I think) from across West Sussex gathered in Shoreham-by-Sea to see the old Fort and learn about its history.
It was a beautiful sunny day, ideal weather to stand outside and listen to a fascinating talk from Gary Baines who is Chairman and Founder of the Friends of Shoreham Fort. The fort was built in 1857, in anticipation of an attack from across the channel by Napoleon III. Garry explained how the fort was designed to withstand any such attack with cannon and also rifle fire – we could imagine those Frenchmen running up the beach and ending up falling down a 12ft wall into a ditch, there to be fired on from all sides by the English soldiers.
The fort wasn’t the only thing of interest for us to see that day. We also visited an old search light tower from World War I, which now houses the Shoreham branch of the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI). The NCI is a voluntary institution assisting in the protection of life at sea and along our coasts. There are 50 such stations around the British Isles … and I had never heard of them! The volunteers were very friendly and delighted to tell us all about what they did (see http://www.nci.org.uk).
We also had a pleasant walk along the harbour wall, getting a great view back to Shoreham and it’s RNLI station, and also the Shoreham Beach local nature reserve with its brightly coloured flowering plants.
The morning ended with a very welcome cuppa and WI slice of cake! All in all it was a very interesting and enjoyable outing, and I would strongly recommend a visit, particularly this weekend (7-8 June) when we are assured that the Fort will come alive with a visit from living history groups, and even the firing of a cannon (see http://www.shorehamfort.co.uk).
For more photos please click here.
The outing was organized for the West Sussex Federation by our Bognor Regis President Jan Marsden … many thanks Jan for all the hard work by you and your helpers!