ScrapBook Item                            scrapbook index

Stephen Turner - Seafort Project

Stephen Turner Seafort Project Banner

Between Thursday 5th August & Friday 9th September 2005 Yorkshire born artist Stephen Turner chose to live in the isolation of the Shivering Sands Searchlight Tower

This ScrapBook feature covers his ambitious project & introduces you to his book of the experience

Supplies on Lady Irene on way to Fort Approaching Shivering Sands

Leaving Whitstable on the Lady Irene & approaching Shivering Sands Army Fort

Shivering Sands Searchlight Tower

The Searchlight Tower

Before Stephen's occupation:

Following the devestating floods of South East in 1953 the Port of London Authority (PLA) took over the Searchlight Tower in the early 1960's, installing an automated tide & wind guages, readings were transmitted to a control centre in Gravesend up until 1992 after which the Searchlight Tower was deemed unsafe. The redundant equipment remains but Shivering Sands readings now come from a LANBY (Large Automated Navigation Buoy) close by

There are pictures of the PLA Helicopter on top of the Searchlight Tower, & the LANBY in Sutch & City Part 3

Boarding the Tower

Boarding the Tower

Key holders to the Searchlight Tower the PLA gave permission for the Stephen Turner's Seafort Project

Interior Door 1965 Calendar Inside Fort

Let's open the door & look at the time warp within, a calendar from 1965 discovered in the luxury of what was to be Stephen's Pent House Suite

After the MoD abandoned Shivering Sands in 1958 the Searchlight Tower became separated from the other towers in the complex, following a collision on 7th June 1963 when the Coaster Ribersborg toppled the G2 Gun Tower & severed the connecting catwalks

Interior View Water World Morning Mist

The cavernous derelict interior the rating sleeping area where Steven pitched his small tent, a picture called Water World shot through a hole in the floor, & early Morning Mist seeping in through the now brittle Crittall Windows

With the exception of the Searchlight Tower the G1 & later Control Tower was used by Radio Sutch & City between 1964 - 1967

Generator Log Gardner LW Generator Press Cutting

Daily service log for the Gardner LW generators, a battery bank & evidence of diesel priming, a scrap of newspaper The Uxbridge Post, 9th July 1958 reporting the suicide of 21 year old student nurse Brigitte Strunk

For full information on the Shivering Sands see Fort Fax & for pictures of the toppled tower in 1965 again see Radio Sutch & City Part 3

Brian Poole, Reg Calvert, David Sutch

Brian Poole, Reg Calvert, & David "Screaming Lord Sutch" on Radio Sutch May 1964

Navigate from Radio Sutch & City Part 1 for the whole Shivering Sands Radio Fort story

Amp MeterSetting Up Camp View from a Window

Amp Meter, Stephen's base camp area before the tent was erected, & his picture View from a Window

During the summer of 1966 a crew from rival Radio Essex boarded the Searchlight Tower to remove the ammunition hoist motor & usable engine parts from the Gardner LV Generators

Floor Sweepings Wash House Signage An Old bath

Stephen's description of flaking rust falling onto his tent pitched in the room centre, the evidence of his first sweeping which became a daily ritual

The Wash House door, Bathe at your peril, who used it last, a serving rating or perhaps the caretaker crew & where he found a toenail & an old Silvikrin shampoo sachet

Pin-Ups on Walls - Demoiselles Control Tower

Remains of 1940's pin-ups, all of the forts have pictures like these left by the serving ratings

Control Tower from the Searchlight Tower, a picture entitled Friend

Shivering Sands in May 1964 Shadow Hand Screaming Lord Sutch in Action

Shivering Sands in May 1964 a picture called Shadow Hand & Screaming Lord Sutch in full voice on Radio Sutch based in the Southern Gun Tower of Shivering Sands

Shampoo Bottle Cormorant Old Wool & Twine

The shampoo bottle found in the bathroom, a shot called Visitor one of the many Cormorants that have made home on the Forts, Threads of wool left by the ratings who were encouraged to knit & weave to overcome boredom & pass time off watch

Scrap of cloth called Fishes Doorman Long RSJ Cloth fragmant - Flower Cloth

Rags of material found, picture called Fishes, the interior RSJ (Rigid Steel Joist) metalwork by Doorman Long & Co of Middlesborough, & another scrap of material, picture titled Flower Cloth

Ray of light - Red Planet Broken Lamp Filament Ray of Light - Window Frame (Inner Light)

A shaft of light called Red Planet, a lamp filament, & picture called Inner Light

RE Workshop Do Not Open Sign RE Workshop Floor

Images from the Royal Engineers workshop

Crane Jib North Cardinal Bouy Control & Bofors Towers

View from under crane jib arm across to Shivering Sands Towers North Cardinal Buoy

The wrecked legs remains of G2 Gun Tower the Control & Bofors Towers behind

& below Sea Bass love to swim around the Fort legs

G4, 1 & Control Tower Gun Tower 4 & 1 Full Moon over G4 & 1 Towers

Gun 4 & 1 with Control Towers; shots called Fresh Breeze, Neighbours & Full Moon

Crane Jib

Crane Jib Arm picture called Hoist

Self Portrait Stephen Turner

Self Portrait of Stephen Turner

The Book: Forward by curator & project manager Sue Jones with an essay by Ian Hunt, & an interview with Stephen Turner by Rachel Lichtenstein

A high quality hardback book measuring 24.6cm x 17.5 cm of 96 pages with 53 colour pictures, 16 Webcam Thumbnails, 4 diagrams & 12 postcards from Whitstable Community Collage, the educational link

These comprise 57 pages in log form with a double page entry of text & photograph covering each day

The inside front & rear cover has colour plates of a portion of an old Thames Estuary Admiralty Chart which is a nice touch

The Equipment inventory was interesting insight to preparation along with the helpful plans to identify photographed "Finds"

The text is a full & colourful account of Stephens thoughts & recollections whilst on his voluntary sole encampment boxed up in his shrunken world, washing in sea water like other fort occupiers before, filling days with menial tasks, making a daily routine of mealtimes Stephen soon fell into the solitary life

Ian Hunt's Boulevard Solitude interview reinforces the diary underlining the emotions of being trapped miles from anywhere or anyone

Conditioned by the experience of long periods alone in the Hoo Fort on an island on the River Medway, Stephen's well written account gives a mere glimpse of the hardship of living in a world of reduced dimensions away from human contact. A fascinating insight to Stephen's resolve & self discipline in resisting the temptation to wave & shout a greeting o boats passing & folk on fishing boats beneath his very feet

Temptingly close, the shore at times looks so near you could almost reach out & touch it, but not quite! Stephen conveys well these feelings of living alone, away from the pack exploring solitude & finding out fist hand how a wandering mind conjures up all sorts of weird thoughts & images

Inevitably fighting loneliness & depression, trying to understand & find a purpose to existence, did he imagine he'd Fort Madness a condition diagnosed by Doctors during 1944?

The book is a very good easy to read coffee table publication, with plenty of outstanding & very high quality photographs & atmospheric shots

With the colourful descriptions of life alone on an old abandoned World War II Ex-Army Fort Tower which with passing time is weathering & decaying to become part again part of the very elements from which it was mad

This book is excellent & recommended reading

Stephen Turner Leaves Shivering Sands

Stephen Turner leaving Shivering Sands & what had been home for 35 nights

The project has spawned exhibitions & future artistic works from the enormous portfolio of 4000 pictures Stephen took whilst on board

For more on Stephen Turner & his work see Seafort

Seafort Book Cover

Book cover picture entitled - Driven Rain shows the Shivering Sands Control Tower viewed from the Searchlight Tower

ISBN 10 0-9554573-0-0

ISBN 13 978-0-9554573-0-2

Price - £12.99 

Please allow 14 days for delivery

Secure on-line payment by PayPal

or click here to order by post

[HOME] (c)Bob Le-Roi 2007