Oddities of Sussex

The Sugar Loaf Folly

This section of the website will hold the odd things about Sussex - whatever they are. When I say Oddities, I mean unusual or strange things, or just things out of the ordinary. If you know where I can find any more oddities of Sussex which are not listed here, please E-mail me and I shall go and look, inspect and photograph it for the site.

The Mystery Towers
Towards the end of the Great War, (1914-18), the construction of two huge circular towers of reinforced concrete and steel, was started near the harbour mouth at Southwick (Shoreham harbour). The air photo's (pics 8 & 9) shows their exact location in the harbour. To the people who marvelled at their size as they grew on the south bank of the harbour they became known as the 'Mystery Towers'.

Whilst they have faded into memory, the Mystery Towers are no longer a mystery! These were to be the first of twelve towers and they were intended for defense purposes, across the straits of Dover, for instance, where perhaps, a narrow entrance for shipping with a submarine boom could have been effected. The fact was that the war ended before they were ready and they were never used in anger or defense!

Around 1920 it was decided that one should be floated to a position south east of the Isle of Wight, then sunk and grounded to form a light tower to replace the existing Nab lightship, and so the Nab tower was born. No use could be found for the other tower and by 1924 it had been ignominiously dismantled.

The size of the project can be gauged by comparing the height of the workmen and their huts with the concrete bases. With upto 5,000 men engaged in the project as builders and security personel, and the immense amount of steel to be used in the making of these towers, it placed them as a major project during the First World War. The intended future location of the towers was presumably known by the Defense Ministry.

It was however, not the first time this idea had been thought of and a similar structure was made in 1785 and was to be sunk in the Channel on the road to Cherbourg.

For more information goto this Website; http://mystery.adur.org.uk