Littlestone Historic Buildings
Located on the seafront at Littlestone, The Watch House was built around the 1870s as a Coastguard Watch Tower, to keep a look out for ships in trouble in the channel. The building was linked to Littlestone Lifeboat Station and a row of black tarred coastguard cottages that were situated nearby on Coast Road.
Up to c2010 it remained very much as it was in the 1870s but was then subject to extensive development with the erection of two three-storey extensions and gazebo and associated groundworks to form swimming pool, terracing to garden area and vehicular access/parking area.
The picture on the right was taken in the early 1900s and shows the Watch House and Lifeboat Station. In the background is the Water Tower and 'Sandcroft', which was home to Herbert Gladstone MP, who was Home Secretary 1906 to 1910.
The 120ft water tower at Littlestone was built in 1890 by Henry Tubbs to supply water to his properties in Littlestone, including Littlestone Golf Club and his proposed housing development.
Henry Tubbs wanted to turn Littlestone into a major resort, and embarked on an ambitious building programme, including the Marine Parade and Grand Hotel. His plans for a pier were not realised, however, and it was eventually built at Eastbourne instead.
The tower is constructed in red brick which shows the external features of the tower very well. 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 World War Two as a lookout post and they made some changes to the structure, partly the reason for its slightly wobbly look. The Army also added a substantial concrete stairway inside.
Unfortunately the water tower didn’t function properly and the water was found to contain too much salt to be of any use. In 1902 the Littlestone and District Water Company built a tower at Dungeness to supply all of New Romney, Littlestone, Greatstone and Lydd. The tower at Littlestone fell into disuse, but now serves as a residence.