Bude storm tower being moved 'brick by brick' to stop it collapsing into sea

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

Work has started to move a storm tower at risk of collapsing into the sea at Bude.

The Victorian building at Compass Point is nearly 200 years old and was traditionally used as a base for the coastguard and as a landmark for ships.

Engineers say because of its location they are unable to move the structure as a whole so are meticulously taking it apart and reassembling.

Richard Gowan, the structural engineer says "it's a very special structure - we want to put it back as close a replica as possible in the new location."

"We're labelling every important stone that's coming off to be stored away in a secure space. To then go back into exactly the same position same orientation in the new location."

The structure has already moved once, and it's original foundations have fallen into the sea Credit: ITV News

The painstaking brick by brick process began with the removal of the iconic cross from the top and a ground breaking ceremony 100 meters in land.

The Pepperpot, as its fondly known locally, was built in 1835, and has already been moved before because of coastal erosion in the 1881.

The entire project is expected to cost around £400,000, with a quarter of a million coming from National Lottery Heritage Fund £50,000 from Cornwall Council, £40,000 from BSTC; along with £60,000 through a community crowdfunding effort.

Richard Bellamy, from National Lottery South West, says it was the public reaction to saving the tower which led to them promising the grant.

"What's special about this project was the historical significance of the building itself. It's been there an awful long time.

"And also what it means the community, and I think that's demonstrated by how much the community has got behind this project right from the beginning and how much money they raised in such a short period of time, which convinced us to get on board."

The iconic landmark has directions on each side of the building but doesn't accurately point north Credit: Bude & Stratton Town Council

Councillor Peter La Broy says the Compass Point project began five years ago but there have been several challenges to date.

"We weren't sure whether we're going to get the money in place to do it. Then we were hit by COVID halfway through the project. The fact that the site is a site of special scientific interest.

"So we had to produce method statements that made it possible to to move it appropriately. And also it's a graded two listed structure, so Heritage England had to be satisfied that we're going to do the job properly."

Netty Wilson, owner of Budeful shop, donated to the fundraiser. She says people regularly come into her shop saying they've proposed at the site.

"Compass point is a very significant place for a lot of people here and people who travel to the town to visit Storm Tower and to have their photographs taken here."

To mark this historic moment, some people wanted to touch the cross from the top of the tower, saying it's a "special piece of Bude history" and they will "never have a chance like that again."