Nab Tower is not what it used to be

By Martin Neville

Sunday, May 11, 2014

 

Nab Tower is not what it used to be

Work continues on the Nab Tower to reduce its size. Picture by Bryan Jones.

ISLANDERS may be scratching their heads over the apparent 'disappearance’ of a well-known landmark — the Nab Tower.

The iconic structure, which marks the eastern end of the Solent, has been a familiar sight on the horizon for close on a century.

Perhaps not the most glamorous or elegant of structures, the tower has stood guard on a lonely vigil in the teeth of storms, gales and raging seas.

However in recent months, the vital aid to navigation has all but disappeared from view.

But don’t worry, it hasn’t vanished. The structure, which was badly deteriorating, has simply been halved in height — from 22 metres to 11 metres — as part of a major upgrade by Trinity House to secure its future for another 50 years.

Peter Browning, of Shanklin, was one resident who reached for his binoculars when he noticed something was missing during his walks along the revetment and cliff paths from Shanklin to Sandown.

He said: "All the steelwork of the tower has gone and it appears a large crane has been set up on the concrete base. This makes it almost impossible to spot on the horizon.

"Hopefully the work will soon be completed and we will have our iconic seamark back once more."

Originally built as a defensive structure in Shoreham for the Admiralty in 1918, it became redundant when the First World War ended.

Trinity House occupied part of the tower from 1920, installing a light to replace the Nab lightvessel.

The station was staffed as an offshore lighthouse, with three keepers who were relieved monthly, until the lighthouse was automated in 1983.

The current work is scheduled to be completed in September.

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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