Martello Tower house
January 30, 2011 8:15 PM   Subscribe

The Martello Tower is the definitive 19th century small coastal fortification, built in large numbers around the coast of the British Isles and elsewhere between 1805 and the 1870s. Many have been lost to the sea or demolished, but some have been converted to private residences (you can even stay in this one). The most recent conversion of a Grade II listed tower, by Billings Jackson Design working with Piercy Connor Architects, has produced this very interesting modern home, set in a wetland.
posted by wilful (31 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Metafilter: a very interesting modern home, set in a wetland.
posted by persona at 8:17 PM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ooops! This very interesting home.
posted by wilful at 8:17 PM on January 30, 2011

(Though the Billings Jackson link is really just as good)
posted by wilful at 8:18 PM on January 30, 2011

Yay! Thank you, wilful. I was working backward and gave up just too soon.

It's lovely and I am jealous. But it would drive my husband nuts if we lived in a Martello tower because I would always be quoting Ulysses at him.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:25 PM on January 30, 2011 [5 favorites]

Hmm. Needs more iD logo.
posted by sneebler at 8:32 PM on January 30, 2011

This is amazing, a really great piece of modern architecture that draws its power from the original form. I'll have to go see it, the next time I'm visiting my mum in Suffolk.
I spent a chunk of my childhood on the south coast of England, but all they did with Eastbourne's Martello Tower is put an (albeit rather cool & sepulchral) aquarium inside it.
posted by Flashman at 8:35 PM on January 30, 2011

Yeah, I am a bit surprised, per Sidhedevil, that I saw no mention of the most famous inhabited Martello tower.
posted by vacapinta at 8:44 PM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm more into modernist architecture than modernist literature, vacapinta.
posted by wilful at 8:49 PM on January 30, 2011

That last wetland link seems to be bad - try here.
posted by zamboni at 8:51 PM on January 30, 2011 what you're telling me is that the "Marletto towers" in Heroes of Might and Magic are just a sloppy misspelling and that these things actually exist?!

In retrospect, I've read Ulysses, so you'd think I would have made the connection earlier.
posted by Diagonalize at 8:58 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Notable also because the beginning of Ulysses is set in the Sandycove Martello tower. Here's some hairy guy climbing it.
posted by muckster at 9:12 PM on January 30, 2011

Oh. I'm late.
posted by muckster at 9:13 PM on January 30, 2011

Very nice, thank you wilful.
posted by arcticseal at 9:30 PM on January 30, 2011

Is this something I would have to be stately, pump Buck Mulligan to understand?

but seriously cool post
posted by chaff at 10:08 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

plump dammit
posted by chaff at 10:10 PM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Interesting post. Coming from colder climes, my first thought was "gotta cost a fortune to heat those things in winter".
posted by Harald74 at 11:24 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

@ Harald, or you could just put on some damn clothes ت ! But seriously, I sud see the Martello tower from Joyce's great work at a distance. Pretty cool.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:26 AM on January 31, 2011

@Harald - probably not. They have huge walls to withstand bombardment (they taper towards the top, but you're talking about two feet thick at the mid-point of the tower), which acts as insulation. You probably have to put a good bit of heat in to get them warm, but once they're warm they'll stay warm; ditto in summer I'd expect them to stay cooler longer than a normal house.

None of those links mention that the Martello Tower on Hoy (Hackness tower) that's a museum has a working cannon, that they fire on special occasions. As far as I'm concerned this would be an essential part of any conversion, and doesn't appear in any of the houses linked. Bah.
posted by Coobeastie at 1:37 AM on January 31, 2011

Just down from the Martello Tower featured in the FPP is this one, in Aldeburgh, which you can also stay in.

[The Landmark Trust is a fantastic resource for staying in all sorts of unusual historic buildings, BTW]

The real daddy of them all was this one, though - No Man's Land, a victorian seafort in the English Channel, which was sold for just under £1m, complete with helipad, revolving bed and indoor swimming pool.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:21 AM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also - probably the quirkiest holiday home in Suffolk - the House in the Clouds.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:25 AM on January 31, 2011

I found a BBC series on bittorrent about different people all around the UK and their struggles with the government authorities after they bought listed properties and tried to make them livable. In one episode, a woman bought one of these towers and had a really, really hard time getting approval for the work she wanted to do.
posted by crunchland at 4:56 AM on January 31, 2011

Key West, FL has its own Martello Towers.

There is the West Martello Tower, home to the Key West Garden Club. And there is the East Martello Tower, home to Fort East Martello Museum & Gardens [video] including an extraordinary permanent exhibit of the works of Key West folk artist Mario Sanchez.

Great post, thanks wilful!
posted by Mike Mongo at 7:08 AM on January 31, 2011

The photos of the conversions with the modern windows set into the wall (particularly number 13 on this list) make me wince, but I couldn't live in one of those buildings without more light than the original design allows either.
posted by immlass at 7:23 AM on January 31, 2011

When I was kid we lived down the road from Martello towers, built to withstand the Napoleonic invasion that never happened.
posted by ob at 7:54 AM on January 31, 2011

This is a really cool post. Thanks, wilful!
posted by pineapple at 8:39 AM on January 31, 2011

Finally - if you fancy buying your own Martello tower in Suffolk. Pony up £450k.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:44 AM on January 31, 2011

Those things are ugly as hell.
posted by Mister_A at 9:27 AM on January 31, 2011

They are ugly - they remind me of these hotel rooms made from silos that are down the road from my place.
posted by MisterMo at 9:31 AM on January 31, 2011

Aw, man, I was expecting the other, more missile-y, kind of silo.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:56 AM on January 31, 2011

Perfect zombie proof home. Must have.
posted by Splunge at 1:08 PM on January 31, 2011

And in Sydney!
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 2:45 PM on January 31, 2011

« Older Interactive Map - Adults With College Degrees in...   |   Do a Barrel Roll! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments