Jaywick Martello Tower
Jaywick Martello Tower is a renovated Martello tower that functions as an art, heritage and community venue. Situated in Jaywick, just south of Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, the Tower, was built in 1809. It was originally one of twenty-nine Martello towers situated on the east coast of England. The towers were constructed to defend the country against the threat of invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte and his armies. In total, 103 Martello Towers were built between 1804 and 1812. Seventy-four were built between 1804 - 1808 along the Kent and Sussex coastlines from Folkestone to Seaford, and twenty-nine were constructed along the east coast between Point Clear near St Osyth and Aldburgh from 1808 - 1812. The south coast towers were numbered 1 ”“ 74, while the east coast towers were lettered A ”“ Z. Three additional east coast towers are known as AA, BB and CC. The bricks for the east coast towers were made at Grays in Essex using London Clay and transported to each site by barges. The brick walls of the east coast Martello Towers are 2 to 3 metres thick (between 8-12 feet) and they are about 10 metres (40 feet) high. The east coast towers were constructed with approximately 750,000 bricks. On the roof were three cannons, usually a 24-pounder facing out to sea and two smaller Howitzers at each side. Jaywick Martello Tower still has the original piviots of the cannons on the roof. The name ‘Martello’ is derived from a similar military sea defence tower at Mortella Point in Corsica, near Italy. By 1793, the French had occupied Corsica and the Mortella tower was being used by the French Navy to bombard any ships that tried to seize the island. The Corsican people asked the British Government for help and two battleships were sent to take the tower the following year. On 9 February 1794 it was finally captured by the British after two days of fighting. The Mortella Tower had withstood the combined force of 101 cannons being fired from two English battleships during this time and was only defeated after a fire broke out inside the tower. The British Navy were so impressed with the strength of the tower that before they left Corsica they took its measurements, which formed the basis for the size and shape of all our English Martello Towers. In 2005 the Napoleonic Tower opened as a gallery space with the photographer John Kippin producing a site-specific art installation. Since 2005 Jaywick Martello Tower has exhibited many artists work including, Nathan Coley, Karen Lois Whiteread and Alex Murdin. The Tower provides a venue for a range of interesting, innovative and enjoyable projects and events such as community workshops, living history experiences, live music plus much more. The renovated tower houses a look out room on the roof providing an impressive viewing area of the local coast. Managed by Essex County Council, it is planned that the Jaywick Martello Tower is a catalyst for change, providing inspiration for the local community and attracting interest and visitors from around the country and abroad to this part of Essex.

Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com