Countylife - news from across Sussex this January

Will Lakin at the National Gallery

Will Lakin at the National Gallery - Credit: Archant

A look at what has been happening out and about in Sussex

Towering presence

The iconic Nab Tower which has marked the shipping channel round Selsey Bill for close to a century has a new profile. Reconstruction designed to extend the structure’s life for a further 50 years was completed in November. The top sections of the outer external steel tower, which had badly deteriorated, have been removed to expose the inner tower which houses the spiral staircase. This is expected to reduce maintenance costs. Originally, the 10,000-ton Nab Tower was one of 12 planned to be floated out and sunk across the Varne Shoal in a line from Dungeness to Calais during World War 1 to form an effective wall to stop German U boats from entering the English Channel.Construction began in 1918 in Shoreham Harbour, where they became known as the ‘Mystery Towers’, for though 5,000 people were employed on their construction, very few knew what the towers were destined for. By the time the war ended in 1918, only two towers had been completed, and after much discussion the first (below) was named the Nab Tower and floated out to act as a navigation mark off Selsey Bill. Her sister tower was demolished.The 100ft steel cylindrical tower stands on an 180ft x190ft circular concrete base created from a series of hexagonal shapes which rise like a cake in stepped stages. The concrete structure was designed to float and be scuppered in position. The Nab Tower settled on the bottom at an angle, and has the appearance of the nautical equivalent of the leaning tower of Pisa. It has survived countless storms and the impact from several ships that have run into it.

First South Downs hamlet in a generation

Shanly Homes, the South East England-based independent property developer, is nearing completion of work on the first hamlet in the South Downs for a generation. The scheme of 18 family houses is to be known as Lavington Weald, providing new homes within the South Downs National Park.

The homes are being built on adjacent land to and in partnership with Seaford College, and will reflect the design and appearance of historical homes in the local area. Decided in consultation with the College and local authority, the name reflects the location of the site and its position between the existing villages of East and West Lavington.

The homes will be set around a new village green, and Shanly Homes will be using traditional materials that reflect the design and appearance of homes across the area, including golden stone, flint, brick and tile. The homes will have stunning views of the South Downs as well as historic woodland.

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To respect the National Park and in agreement with Chichester District Council, the development will also see a significant amount of land on the college site returned to open green space.

John Green, Headmaster of Seaford College said: “Since the start of the development, Shanly Homes has worked well with the school to ensure the sensitivity required for this type of development was thoroughly understood. The new homes have retained the very special character of the South Downs and fit in sympathetically with the landscape.”

Lancing College spreads its wings

Lancing College has bought a top prep school in Worthing. Broadwater Manor School, on Broadwater Road, which currently has around 140 day pupils aged between 3 and 13, will become Lancing Prep at Worthing, from 1 January, 2014.

“This is an exciting development and one which will enhance Lancing’s provision of exceptional education in Sussex and beyond,” said Sir Tim Rice, one of Lancing College’s most famous alumni and Chairman of Lancing’s Development Council.

The opportunity for Lancing College to acquire Broadwater Manor came after it was approached by Head Teacher Kim Woodley, whose family has owned the prep school for more than 50 years.

“Lancing College will invest significantly in Lancing Prep at Worthing to ensure the school’s future, including the refurbishment of classrooms, new IT systems and new facilities,” said Jonathan Gillespie, Headmaster of Lancing College. He added that pupils will have access to many of the top class facilities at Lancing College, including the swimming pool, playing fields, the theatre, the Chapel and the school.

New wealden stone age and iron age evidence

New evidence of Stone Age and Iron Age activity in the Weald area of Sussex has been revealed by findings from archaeological excavations at Countryside Properties’ Wickhurst Green development near Horsham. This supports the theory that the Weald was not the unpopulated wilderness that it was previously thought to have been during prehistoric times.

Archaeologists from Archaeology South-East, part of UCL, investigated the 46-hectare area of land at Broadbridge Heath, which lies close to the source of the River Arun at Horsham. The area forms part of the Weald, and retains its wooded nature to this day, however archaeologists revealed indications that the area was cleared of woodland and used for agricultural purposes much earlier than had been previously thought.

Robert Masefield, Archaeology Director from RPS Planning and Development, the archaeological consultant for the project, said: “The Wickhurst Green archaeological project has greatly increased knowledge of the archaeology and history of Broadbridge Heath and the wider region. The findings have given us a better picture of when and how the agricultural landscape of the region evolved, and shows us that there was in fact a lot more going on in terms of settlement than we realised in the Weald during prehistoric times, especially the Iron Age.”

Andrew Carrington, Strategic Land Director at Countryside Properties, said: “We are pleased that the work undertaken here furthers the understanding of history during these periods of early human presence in this region. The artefacts uncovered are currently being analysed and a full assessment report will be published next year. The findings will then be entrusted to Horsham Museum, where they will be viewable on request.”

Local charity hosts Great British Brekkie

The Winston’s Wish Great British Brekkie week is taking place 10-16 February, and they want you to take part. Winston’s Wish is a Sussex-based charity for bereaved children.

They want you, together with your family, friends or colleagues, to join them and help raise thousands of pounds. This will help us to support even more bereaved children every year and continue to expand their services to meet the increasing demand.

Every 22 minutes in Britain a child is bereaved of a parent, they need to raise £2.3 million each year so they can continue to help as many of these children as possible. The money goes towards services like their helpline, through which they answer around 13,000 calls a year from parents, teachers and health care professionals who need advice and guidance or just someone to speak to. This is such a vital service and is often the first time the person has spoken to someone about their concerns for a bereaved child.From 10-16 February, they are asking everyone to hold their own Great British Brekkie.

Yours can be anything from a traditional full English to a cup of tea and a slice of toast.

When: 10-16 February; Where: your home, work or school; What: breakfast...think muesli, muffins or mango. Why not go fancy with a champagne breakfast for friends or take 10 to have a tea and toast moment with your colleagues? It’s free to take part, all they ask is that each of your guests donates what they can.

Richard and Judy, of morning television fame, say: “We are so pleased to support the Winston’s Wish Great British Brekkie. Go on, sign up today!” Their favourite breakfast is orange juice, breakfast tea, hot croissants, white toast, butter, marmalade, and sliced melon.

Tom Herbert, one of the Fabulous Baker Brothers, said of the initiative: “All great days start with a proper breakfast – join in and make a difference!”

To find out more about Great British Brekkie, or to take part, go to

Brighton photographer exhibits at National Gallery

Recent Middlesex University photography graduate and Brighton resident, Will Lakin, is taking the industry by storm after being selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, being highlighted by the British Journal of Photography and being hand-picked as young talent to showcase his collection at a high-profile exhibition in Paris.

The talented Brighton-based photographer, who only graduated in BA Photography from Middlesex in July, has been attracting wide-spread attention with his final year photography collection shot in Great Yarmouth. His photo titled Martyn, Sean and Jacob, of three young men he randomly came across, is currently being displayed in the National Gallery, London, as part of the Taylor Wessing exhibition, a prestigious prize that celebrates excellence in portrait photography.

Will’s image was selected for the exhibition from more than 5,000 submissions from across the globe. The competition attracts entries from top professionals worldwide, who hope to be part of the exhibition in one of the leading UK galleries for three months. From the work displayed there, Will was then hand-picked as one of the British Journal of Photography’s Top 12 photographers.

Will says: “It’s such a privilege to be exhibiting in the National Gallery. As a portrait photographer, it’s the best place to be.”

Earlier this year, Will’s collection also received the influential artistic Yellow Pencil award, in the D&AD Student Awards 2013. His photo Martyn, Sean and Jacob most successfully fit the brief to “take a photograph which encapsulates this particular moment in youth culture”.

Middlesex University Head of Department for Visual Arts Phil Healey said: “Will’s work in the area of documentary and urban portrait is beautifully composed, fresh and infused with an understanding and appreciation of the people, their dreams and their challenges.”