Kent

Hadlow Tower restoration work completed

Restored Hadlow Tower
Image caption Experts believe the tower was built as a flamboyant status symbol

A two-year project to restore a 19th Century, Grade I listed tower in Kent has been completed.

Hadlow Tower, which formed part of Hadlow Castle, was badly damaged in the great storm of 1987.

It was transferred to the Vivat Trust by Tonbridge and Malling Council, which served a compulsory purchase order on its former owner in 2006.

The tower will receive its first paying guests in new self-catering accommodation on Bank Holiday Monday.

Most of Hadlow Castle is now lost except for the tower and the courtyard buildings.

Local landowner Walter Barton May commissioned the Gothic Revival folly in 1835.

It was built by George Ledwell Taylor, who designed parts of the Sheerness and Chatham dockyards.

Experts believe the tower was built as a flamboyant status symbol.

The restoration work included reinstating the 40ft (12m) lantern, restoring the exterior, strengthening the building with a new steel core, and installing new staircases and an exhibition space with access to a viewing platform.

A visitor's centre has been created on the ground floor, along with self-catering holiday accommodation for six people.

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