Evening at the tower

After inspecting our living quarters and making our first cup of tea, we decided to check out the rooftop of the tower…

There were two staircases which connected the lobby and the rooftop and as we clambered up one of them, we noticed how the rendered internal walls were stained in a various shades of brown – telltale signs of water permeation. The tower was sandwiched between the North Sea and River Alde, a position it stood was at the mercy of the weather which was often not so gentle or calm. Luckily, it did not rain during our stay but we did experience blustery winds which were whipping up the tower almost ceaselessly. Once the season changed and the North Sea became rougher, the weather over the tower would undoubtedly become more unforgiving and it would pelt the brick wall with sea water and pebbles.

Views over River Alde from the parapet…

Today, the tower stands alone, isolated and forlone. Yet, there was a community around the fort once upon a time. A fishing village of Slaughden surrounded the quatrefoil tower and a community of labourers who were catering a garrison of one officer and 15 – 25 men. It is difficult to imagine now how this windswept stretch of singled beach was once a hive of activity. Not only fishermen who were attending to their catches but also there were wash-women, grocers, bakers or possibly prostitutes who milled around the fort, making their living. Sadly, they all disappeared into oblivion by 1936.

Terreplain of the Martello Tower…

On the terreplain, there were four pivots on which cannons were mounted. Each cannon was manoeuvrable up to 360 degrees in order to defend the fort from seaward attacks as well as landward assaults. The cylinder in the middle was a roof light which to introduce daylight into the interior below. Around the parapets there were two fireplaces which allowed soldiers on watch to keep themselves warm and cook provisions.

Diagrams which explains how the tower’s  battery worked…

A flag pole facing River Alde…

The flag pole had an important role to play during the Napoleonic Wars. As the threat of the invasion loomed during the beginning of the 19th century, altogether 103 Martello towers were constructed to form a chain of defensive line along the coast between Seaford, Sussex and Aldeburgh, Suffolk. The towers were positioned at regular intervals and their flag poles were used to relay informations, such as sighting of enemy vessels or orders from the Admiralty, back and fro.

After inspecting the rooftop, we decided to drive to the town for fish & chips.

A view over River Alde…

A balmy summer evening…

Aldeburgh Fish & Chips Shop was extremely busy…

We saw one customer buying a £300 worth of fish & chips! He had to be helped by a staff to carry two large cardboard boxes to a waiting car.

We brought back our piping hot food to the tower and mom tried her very first mushy peas. Her reaction was…’Why do they have to be mashed?’ Oh well, for the experience, Don’t think too hard and enjoy it, mom.

After dinner, I opened a door to admire the late sunset…

The view was breathtakingly serene and sublime…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

4 thoughts on “Evening at the tower

  1. Great thing about that position is you get the sun rising over the sea and setting over the river – lovely photographs. I hope you enjoyed the fish and chips – supposed to be some of the best in the country.

    • All of us overslept every morning – so quiet there, nothing like where we live in London!, as a result, we never had a chance to see the sunrise 😦 Yes, their fish & chips was great! The fish was sumptuous and the price was reasonable too. And the queue in front of the shop was excruciatingly long. My stomach was rumbling like crazy. I don’t think my mom was very impressed with the mushy peas. She didn’t understand why it had to be mashed up like baby food…

      • Mushy peas – mmm, as a southerner and a descendant of a long line of Londoners, I would never have mushy peas with fish and chips. As a child we had a weekend cottage near Snape which my mother and father renovated and every Saturday lunchtime we had the quick easy meal of fish and chips. Pickled onions or pickled eggs were always available at the various fish and chip shops we frequented, but I never saw mushy peas in the 1970s. I did hear about mushy peas from a friend who’s family came from Yorkshire. Mushy peas appear to have ‘arrived’ in Suffolk perhaps due to demand from visitors to have something vaguely green with their meal. Marrowfat peas I think are an acquired taste, I totally agree with your mother!!

      • Oh, I didn’t know mushy peas was not a universal fish & chips accompaniment! Paul is from Yorkshire so he always wants mushy peas with his and I have gone along with it. I haven’t tried pickled onions or pickled eggs so far as Paul doesn’t like anything pickled. I will definitely try them next time we go to our local chippies. Ohhh, I am sooo hungry as I am writing this! I may call him to bring some home for dinner…

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