SMHS visit: Counterscarp galleries at Newhaven Fort

10 Aug 2013

On August 10th, SMHS was treated to a special tour of the counterscarp galleries at Newhaven Fort.

Although the galleries were once open to the public at special events, their preservation means only special access is now permitted.

The galleries were designed to allow the Newhaven Fort garrison to shoot at the enemy should they gain access to the ditch. To achieve this, the loopholed galleries were built into the corner of the outer wall of the moat. The counterscarp galleries are ringed in the photograph below.

Counterscarp galleries at Newhaven Fort

The tour was organised and conducted by SMHS member Ed, who also works at the fort. Using architects' drawings, Ed explained the role of the galleries and their location.

In order to reach the counterscarp, a staircase descends from the fort down to a level below the floor of the moat. A tunnel extends beneath the ditch and terminates in a staircase up to the galleries.

The galleries are most notable for their colourful murals; it is believed that these date to Christmas 1946, when a party was held in here by personnel of the Air/Sea Rescue unit that had occupied these rooms since the war.

The scenes depict the landscape of the Downs, underwater landscapes and a passageway has been painted with a Middle East theme.

The role of Air/Sea Rescue is also portrayed; numerous depictions of the actual vessels that operated from Newhaven to pick up downed aircrew from the Channel. Also seen are some Mosquito aircraft that worked in tandem with the rescue launches as well as an early helicopter.

The group thoroughly enjoyed the tour and we would like to thank Ed for organising/leading it!

Counterscarp galleries at Newhaven Fort

Photograph gallery

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Next meeting     [More]

Wednesday 20 Sep 2017

Artists of the Great War 1914 -1918

7.30pm for 8.00pm start
Function Room of the
Royal Oak Public House,
Station Street, Lewes,
East Sussex.


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