Saving Surrey’s Semaphore Tower – the last in Britain!

Would you know what a semaphore tower was? We have to admit, until we were asked to work on one, we didn’t know either!

One of our recent projects, however, involved the renovation of Britain’s last remaining Semaphore Tower based in Chatley Heath, Surrey.

Saving Surrey’s Semaphore Tower – the last in Britain!

The uniquely shaped grade II listed building, dating back to the Napoleonic era, was once a vital link in transmitting messages from Admiralty House in London to Portsmouth Docks.

Before today’s internet, long-range military communication was extremely difficult and, prior to the semaphore system, the British used flags or moving balls to signal messages. As you can imagine, neither were reliable methods in bad weather.

The French first invented the semaphore system, which uses towers to convey information via signals. Britain adapted their idea using flags and sticks atop purpose built buildings which, when displayed in a particular pattern, represented different letters.

This particular semaphore tower’s construction was ordered after the battle of Waterloo, to protect us from invasion. It was completed in 1822 and, at the time, was considered cutting-edge technology and design. For more than 20 years this tower acted as a vital link in a communication chain. It became obsolete once the electric telegraph was invented though and the semaphore lines were decommissioned.

This remarkable tower, a once vital British military building, stood empty from 1963. It suffered vandalism, a major fire and severe water damage.

Fortunately, The Landmark Trust recognised its significance and swooped in to save it. A public appeal was backed by more than 1,000 generous supporters who have helped fund its restoration.

We were commissioned as part of the restoration works to fit secondary glazing units to some of its original windows. We’re extremely proud to have played a part in reviving this unique structure.

The five-story tower, which offers 360-degree views across London and the Home Counties, has now been turned into a holiday retreat and has even featured on Countryfile!

You can book this unique holiday destination here!

We hope it enjoys a long and lived-in future!

For more information or to book a free no-obligation survey, simply give us a call on 01384 63 63 65 or email You can also contact us using the form on our website.



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