New lease of life for historic Mount Batten Tower


One of the city‘s key landmarks is to get a new lease of life – as a wedding and events venue.

The imposing tower that stands at the entrance to Cattedown Water has been handed to the Mount Batten Watersports and Activity Centre, who will run it as a venue and educational venture.

Plymouth City Council secured £155,000 for improvements to the tower, including £84,000 from Historic England and £50,000 from the Coastal Communities Revival Fund.

Work began in Spring 2016 to repair the walls both internally and externally, particularly around the top, as well as make the roof watertight, and repair and replace lintels. Work was carried out on the handrail around the roof to allow visitors to access the roof area safely and a wooden floor installed to facilitate wedding ceremonies and other uses.  The work programme had to be cleared by Historic England to make sure it does not compromise the

Handing the keys over, Coun Glenn Jordan with Alex King, Centre Director, Mount Batten Watersports & Activities Centre

structure.

Alex King, Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre Director said:“We are delighted that the tower has been refurbished and will soon be available to enjoy again.

“Myself and my team here at the centre are looking forward to being custodians of the Artillery Tower on behalf of English Heritage and Plymouth City Council.

“As a wedding venue for Plymouth’s newly engaged couples, the tower and centre compliment each other perfectly.”

Councillor Glenn Jordan, cabinet member for Culture and heritage champion said: “It’s great that such a striking feature on our waterfront is going to come to life. Not only will it be available for weddings – and what a location and backdrop – but is also going to be more accessible, so that our school children, residents and visitors can learn more about our city’s fascinating history”

The historic tower takes its name from Captain William Batten, a commander in Cromwell’s Parliamentarian navy. It was built during the Commonwealth period and held up to 10 guns on the upper floor to protect the eastern side of the Plymouth estuary and defend the entrance to Cattewater and Sutton Harbour. From 1913 the headland was used as an airbase by the Royal Navy and then the Royal Air Force.

Sarah Gibson, Waterfront Manager and Chief Executive of the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership added “As in most parts of Plymouth’s spectacular Waterfront area, Mount Batten is steeped in history. As far back as 700BC it’s thought this particular area was a premier port in England. We’re very pleased to see the tower brought back into use and look forward to supporting the Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre in promoting this new venue as a destination for weddings and events.”

Built between 1646 and 1660, the tower is older than The Citadel and with 360 degree views from the top provided opportunity to protect Plymouth during the English Civil War.

The work was carried out by Westcountry Stonemasons under the supervision of Jo Hibbert of Levitate Architects.

To enquire about tower as a wedding venue contact the Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre on 01752 404567, email enquiries@mount-batten-centre.com or visit www.mount-batten-centre.com