My daughter and son in law have just acquired an allotment behind the Norwegian houses on the land around the Redoubt fort in Harwich and going there sparked 7 year old Lachlan’s interest in visiting the fort – and the girls decided they’d like to come too.
They’d spent the morning at the beach – and some of it in the sea (the water was very warm). The lighthouse you can see is known as the Umbrella.
While Lachlan posed very seriously with the guns and cannons at the fort, the girls posed like – well like girls!
I grew up in one of the white wooden houses – donated to Harwich by the Norwegians after the 1953 flood and I didn’t take a single second of the 18 years I lived there for granted. My mum lived there until her death in 2003.
I often used to take a short cut round the fort and through the allotments on my way home from school. The Harwich Society hadn’t started restoring the fort back then and I recall one day on my way home hearing footsteps and voices inside the fort. It was chilling.
I think that might have been the day I stopped taking the short cut.
In my last year at primary school, when the long job of restoration had begun, we were taken into the fort. There were no lights and we had to go down the staircase by torchlight. It was a very dark place and I don’t mean just because of the lack of light. I loved it. I loved being scared.
They often have events there and there's a ghost hunt coming up on 7th September. It’s the sort of chance I would have jumped at when I was younger, but not any more. I don’t like being scared.
The atmosphere is absolutely charged. I have never been anywhere like it. I felt it just as strongly yesterday. Fascinating place, I love it dearly, but I would never go there alone.
The Harwich Society have done a fantastic job and it is well worth a visit for the views alone before you even start on the exhibits. And there's the Umbrella again!
I’ve been round the Redoubt many times. My kids used to love going when they were little and I’ve a feeling I’ll be going a lot more in the future with this new generation, but definitely not after dark!