Work starts on Mount Batten Tower

Mount BattenWork is starting on Plymouth’s historic Mount Batten Tower next week which could help the building attract more visitors.

Contractors will be putting up scaffolding around the tower ahead of a programme of work which will see a new rail or balustrade installed around the top of the tower as well as handrails on the outside staircase.

The 400-year-old tower will be made more watertight with new drainage installed and stonework repointed.

Earlier this year the Council opened up the tower to the public to get their thoughts and ideas of what they would like to see at the tower. It commissioned consultants Levitate to put together a feasibility study to see how the tower can be opened up and the history of the headland better celebrated.

From next week contractors Westcountry Stonemasons will be erecting scaffolding around the tower for the project which is likely to take around six months.

Karen Brimacombe, Product and Contract Management Team Leader said: “This is an historic building and needs to be handled with care. Installing new rails means we have to lift some fairly heavy granite flagstones and we need to be mindful that it is a scheduled monument.”

The work programme had to be cleared by Historic England to make sure it does not compromise the structure. Other aspects of the project involve removing bitumen from around the tower, tidying up the interior and rewiring.

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