Greengates Builders Merchants

Derelict Sea Fort On Sale For £500,000


Not for the faint-hearted, Number 1, The Thames, might be a good address, but is it a good buy?

Dream homes come in many shapes and sizes: from a Manhatten penthouse over-looking Central Park, to a romantic retreat in the Tuscan countryside. But how about a sea fort standing proudly off the coast of Kent? It would not be on many buyers’ wish-lists. Yet, Number 1 The Thames (Grain Fort) has generated something of a frenzy since it was launched on the market this month. Everyone from property investors to shoestring renovators have been circling the tiny island off Sheerness.

The architctural gem was built in 1855 as an estuary defence to repel Napoleon and his forces. It has survived nearly two centuries of attacks from a daily barrage of sea salt and everything old Father Thames could throw at it. Today, the fort is on the market for £500,000 through River Homes.

Although a wreck, shards of brilliance still shine through. Highlights include the original barracks with hooks for hanging hammocks, observation towers and gun placements. During World War II, six guns were strategi­cally positioned in case of an invasion. The original structure was bomb-proof, too.

But now the empty shell is in need of some attention. It has been derelict for nearly 70 years, after it was disarmed in the 1950s. Needless to say, there is no electricity or running water. Access is only possible by foot at low-tide along a walkway covered in seaweed and oozy mud. Although there are plans to create a permanent pathway for a new buyer.

Future modifi­cations to the fort will be subject to planning permission. English Heritage planners will probably be involved every step of the way in bringing this piece of maritime heritage back to life.

Clearly, those with deep pockets only need apply. Record producers, nightclub owners and city slickers have already toured the fort. A commute to central London would only take 50 minutes by speedboat from the Bond-style pad or even faster via helicopter. Nothing is out of reach of today’s super rich.



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