Eastbourne tourism project gives Redoubt cannon new life

Cannon at Eastbourne's Redoubt. Photo courtesy of Heritage Eastbourne. SUS-161104-163825001
Cannon at Eastbourne's Redoubt. Photo courtesy of Heritage Eastbourne. SUS-161104-163825001

An historic cannon at Eastbourne’s Redoubt has been given a new lease of life thanks to a major tourism grant awarded to the 200-year-old fortress.

The 68-pounder cannon, which has been sitting at the bottom of the Redoubt’s earth hills since the 1970s, was lifted into a new, purpose-built oak carriage on Friday (April 8).

The cannon’s new carriage comes among a number of works designed to improve public spaces around the Redoubt and is paid for by a £47,800 grant from the national Coastal Revival Fund.

Cllr Margaret Bannister Eastbourne Borough Council’s lead cabinet member for culture, tourism and enterprise, said, “Mounting the cannon was quite a difficult task, it is extremely heavy and it really is astonishing to think that a 68-pounder cannon would once have been lifted by completely different means – with significantly less machine-power – in both the Napoleonic and Victorian eras.

“Standing on the fortress’s grass glacis, the cannon and oak carriage look extremely striking and really help to bring the Redoubt’s historical charm to the seafront, enticing even more visitors into the fortress grounds and museum.”

The replica carriage, based on those used at the Redoubt around 150 years ago, was delivered from Cornwall on Friday morning.

As the Redoubt is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the cannon site underwent a full archaeological investigation before the 4.8 tonnes cannon was lifted into its new home.

Later in the year the Coastal Revival Fund project will see the installation of an interactive sculpture designed from restored seafront groynes.

The council says the sculpture will provide an engaging representation of Eastbourne’s coastal history and provide a play area for younger visitors.

It will also have signs telling the wider story of the Eastbourne and Sussex coastline.

The Coastal Revival Fund project is designed to improve the appearance of the Redoubt and increase footfall to the eastern end of the seafront.

Earlier this year the council revealed plans to turn the Redoubt back to a living museum and to build a new museum on the site by 2018, which will tell the story of Eastbourne from pre-historic times to the modern day.

For more information and go to www.EastbourneMuseums.co.uk.

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