The Resurrection of Newhaven Fort
A family affair – A story of human sacrifice and resilience.
I discovered some interesting history about Newhaven’s popular tourist attraction – Newhaven Fort whilst scrolling social media one day.
I decided to investigate further and arranged an interview with Myra Thorpe, Christine Thorpe and David Gee, to hear all about the untold story behind the resurrection of Newhaven Fort;
It’s a story of human sacrifice and determination.
When the military abandoned the Fort in 1962 it became derelict. Lewes district council became the new owners and set about stripping the interior out and filling the site with soil and rubble to allow the chalk landscape to reclaim it.
During the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, local children played in the ruins which included a network of tunnels stretching under the fort and followed a route through the cliffs, coming out onto the beach below.
During the mid-1970’s entrepreneurs, David Gee and a local family by the name of Thorpe collaborated on an ambitious project to resurrect the fort; their story is a remarkable piece of Newhaven’s history and demonstrates one family’s extraordinary stamina and grit.
Newhaven Fort today is a thriving tourist attraction which is testament to the passion, resilience and sacrifice made by the Thorpe family and David Gee who persevered with an elaborate vision against all the odds.
Watch this remarkable story below.
Words by Justine Swann