Eastbourne’s Redoubt will close its doors for the winter on Sunday (November 13) so it can be transformed into a living re-enactment of its early beginnings.
Stripping back the sands of time along with decades of 20th Century paint and masonry, the 200-year-old fortress will reveal its original Napoleonic incarnation, complete with barracks, kitchen and latrines, before reopening next March with costumed interpreters and interactive activities.
Eastbourne Borough Council Head of Tourism & Enterprise, Annie Wills said, “The Redoubt is the finest UK example of a Napoleonic Fortress and it is only right that we return it back to its early beginnings to offer visitors a unique insight into life at this time.
“This will be a dramatic and exciting reawakening, making the museum much more authentic, immersive, hands on and fun for children.”
From discovering the heinous crimes of the many past inhabitants in the creepy prison cells to lessons in the damp, cold schoolroom for Victorian children, life was certainly tough for its inhabitants in the 1800s.
A personalised ticket on arrival will allow visitors to follow in the footsteps of a real life Redoubt resident, to discover their role, the challenges they faced and their fate.
With uniform and kit to try on, audio-visual effects throughout the building will also recreate the sights and sounds of a living fortress, creating an immersive visitor experience.
Each visit to the fortress will reveal a new story, and a discovery room will allow children to try their hand at science, construction and creative fun.
Closed off areas will also be reopened, including some of the spooky stairs, caponiers inside the moat, and a peek through ‘tank cam’ will reveal a closer look into the eerie underground water tanks.
The fortress will continue with a lively programme of events, including the return of its spooky Twilight Ghost Tours after a sell-out success this year and a range of film screenings, each shown in a spectacular themed recreation of the original film set.
Next door The Pavilion will reveal a brand new free exhibition, ‘Living on the Edge: 8,000 Years by the Sea’ based around the findings of a recent National Trust project along Eastbourne’s downland coast of what was possibly the largest prehistoric enclosure in the UK.
The Redoubt reopens daily from 20 March 2017, with an extended winter opening season for the first time ever, for visits during the winter school holidays.
Entry is free to the parade ground, gun platform and cannons, vintage themed Outpost café and shop.
Twice daily tours are included in the museum entry fee. For more information visit www.eastbournemuseums.co.uk.
Photo courtesy of Eastbourne Borough Council.