Watercolour on paper. 40 x 30cm 2017

Grain Tower is a mid-19th-century gun tower situated either in the mud of the River Medway, or on its’ own artificial island offshore, depending on the tides. It is near the village of Grain, in Kent. This image was painted from a photo taken on site at 4am, summer 2017, when the tide was right for the walk along the old remnants of the causeway. My fellow Scout Leader and myself went off for an explore.

It was built along the same lines as a Martello tower, the squat towers which were constructed along the British and Irish coastlines in the early 19th century and is the last-built example of a gun tower of this type.

It owed its existence to the need to protect the important naval dockyards at Sheerness and Chatham.

During the Second World War much bigger changes were made when the tower became the location, in 1939, for a twin 6-pdr. QF gun. A large roofed concrete emplacement was constructed on the roof to house the gun with a tall directing tower at its rear.

A Defence Electric Light Emplacement was also added to the fabric of Grain Tower. At the tower’s rear, a brick and concrete barrack block standing on stilts was constructed to house the gun detachment.

It is a freestanding structure but is connected to the tower via catwalks.

 In 1944 the tower was reduced to care and maintenance status before being fully decommissioned in 1956. Much of its mechanical workings are still in place now left to rust.