Holding the fort
EASTBOURNE’S cherished maritime heritage has been given a shot in the arm with the reopening of its 200-year-old Redoubt Fortress (www.eastbournemuseums.co.uk). The home of the Military Museum of Sussex since 1977, with a disparate range of exhibits—from items linked to the Sussex regiments to artefacts from the Charge of the Light Brigade and el Alamein—it has undergone a makeover aimed at providing visitors with a clearer impression of its napoleonic origins. The fortress was built in 1805 as one in a string of defences along the south coast established in anticipation of a French invasion. Although that never materialised, the fort’s guns did fire two shots at French warships in 1812, both of which missed. With its solid, bastion-like defences, the Redoubt served as a garrison for 200 soldiers and was also a storeroom for its quaintly named sister attraction further east along eastbourne’s promenade, the Wish Tower, one of the Martello towers that dotted the coast from Sussex round to east Anglia.
The year 2017 will also be a big one for the town’s Lifeboat Museum, operated by the Royal national Lifeboat Institution. It became the first museum of its type when it opened in 1937 and celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. Jack Watkins
The Redoubt was built to repel a French invasion