£7.5m restoration of Newhaven Fort begins

Construction work, set to complete early next year, will include the creation of access to previously hidden areas

Construction work has begun to restore Newhaven Fort, a 19th Century construction on the south coast of England.

The £7.5 million restoration is expected to continue through the year, reopening to the public in early 2025.

Built in the 19th Century, the fort is the largest work of defence ever built in Sussex and is the last of a long series of coastal defences built on the cliffs overlooking Seaford Bay.It was one of 72 coastal forts to be commissioned by the British Government under Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, following the apparently threatening behaviour of Napoleon the Third,.

Construction works begins with the restoration of the Fort’s Romney Hut, and will include areas that have never been opened previously, such as hidden tunnels which have been assessed ahead of restoration work beginning.

Lindsay Lawrence, general manager, said: “Our collections custodian Frankie and I have been delving into the history of the Fort, Newhaven and Sussex to research stories for our new exhibits. It’s been a fascinating journey and we’ve uncovered many secrets within the Fort’s walls – including a hidden tunnel revealed in the original 1871 plans.

“Working closely with our design team, we’re creating new exhibits to bring these untold stories to life, with a focus on personal histories to give an insight into ordinary Sussex folk’s lives and experiences.

New areas visitors will be able to explore following the Fort’s restoration include its Battery Observation Post, providing a new space for views of the Sussex coastline.

The restoration project will also include improving access and signage across the attraction, and a new, larger adventure playground.