Mr Tubbs builds a Water Tower,

Mr Tubbs’ Tower

I love the Water Tower at Littlestone, it’s so quirky and odd, its shape defies logic, its a bit unbalanced (I can relate to that 🙂 )

This odd landmark was built in 1890 by Henry T Tubbs (great name) to supply water for a planned new resort including the Littlestone Golf Course. Mr Tubbs also built the Marine Parade and the Grand Hotel  Unfortunately the tower didn’t function properly and the water was found to contain too much salt to be of any use.  Henry had also planned a pier, ( so you’re not the first, Councillor Tillson) but this was never realised and the pier was built at Eastbourne instead.

The tower is constructed in a gorgeous orangey red brick which positively glows in the evening sunshine. It’s sort of squeezed in the middle, it narrows at about the third story and its appearance changes depending on your viewpoint. At the top there is a sort of turret, giving the building a slightly military look. The military used the Tower during WWII as a lookout post and they made some changes to the structure, partly the reason for its slightly wobbly look. Apparently some of the additions have been knocked off and now lie in the garden. The Army have also added a substantial concrete stairway inside. Without cement, I think  WWII would have been a totally different affair.

The Tower features in many pictures by Paul Nash and is also shown in the painting at the top of my Blog (this is by Richard Eurich  who I think was a great painter).  . More of Eurich another time.  I imagine that Nash liked the Tower because it provided a focal point in what is a pretty featureless vista ( the nuclear power station at Dungeness was only built in 1965.)

Paul Nash “The Wall” 1923(Tower top left)

When I first arrived in Dymchurch nearly six years ago, I was very drawn towards this building, it’s my kind of structure. I’m given to producing tower like ceramics and whilst I was teaching at a prison in the North West of England I produced a piece of work with an uncanny resemblance to the subject of this post.   People often ask whether it’s inspired by the LIttlestone Tower, but I have to say I had no knowledge of the building when I made the sculpture.

My “Watertower” ceramic piece

This little story might look like a blatant attempt to publicise my own creative output, by creating a tenuous link. How could you possibly think that?

Whatever your opinion about my tower sculpture, go and see Mr Tubbs’ magnificent Littlestone Water Tower .  Please respect the fact that  it’s a private residence now. But what a great place to live!


5 thoughts on “Mr Tubbs builds a Water Tower,

  1. I too think highly of the tower. It’s always put me in mind of a Victorian folly. It must be one of the most incongruous buildings I know of anywhere, an impression exaggerated by the otherwise bland and featureless (not necessarily in a bad way) landscape of the surrounding area. I’m going to disagree with you on one thing, if I may? I reckon it would drive me mad living there. All those stairs and – what is it? – one room per level? Imagine going down to the front door and realising that you’ve left your car keys in the lounge on the top floor!

    • Hi Oliver

      Yes Iknowwhat youmean. I know the lady who lives in it (she comes to theclass inDymchurch) she only lives on the lower 3 floors and it is, as you say 1 room per floor. She seems to like it though!


  2. I came across this water tower and found it absolutely beautiful, glad it has been restored rather than demolished. I took some shots myself and can email you them if you wish. I would love to see how the former resident has converted the interior, and what she has done (if anything) with the remaining top levels?

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