A few months ago, No 1 The Thames was for sale… And the craziest ideas were in the air for the future use of the 19th Century fort built in the river Thames known as Grain Battery Tower. The gun emplacement tower was a former military installation and was put for sale at £ 500,000. It finally went for £ 400,000 but the buyer wants to remain “under the radar” about the use he/she wants to make of this sea monster you can only access at low tide with wellies!
Last September before it was sold I decided to go on a day trip there. It was a wonderful sunny day and I love going to the seaside in Kent. Armed with my wellies, I had to wait for the tide to be low enough to get to the fort on an ancient little stone path. Probably one of the best and weirdest day trip of my life! After walking the half-mile from the Isle of Grain shore, I found myself in front of a ladder… and I am scared of height.
There was a couple on the fort, playing geocatching and after a little treasure hidden in an old film canister! They told me the ladder was OK. Oh dear… How was I going to do? Well it took me ages but I managed to go up, freezing for minutes between 2 steps! And I certainly avoided thinking about how I was going to come down the bloody thing.
What a place, dark and heavy, full of past presence… Who knows what happened here, who stayed here for the last 150 years! I stayed for a while exploring, always keeping an eye on the tide though and thinking about all these crazy ideas I had read about: Some people wanted to transform the place into a luxury hotel, some other ones into a mansion and another potential buyer into a 24 hour party place, a sort of Berghain by the sea! And finally, we don’t know and will have to wait and see…
What a place and what a challenging day facing my own fears of heights, of the sea and its dangerous tides and of monsters!!!!
If you want to read more (in French) about No1 The Thames : http://www.lm-magazine.com/blog/2014/10/01/berghain-sur-mer/
And see more photos: http://elisabethblanchet.photoshelter.com/gallery/No-1-The-Thames/G0000QOEm4v5GPpU