It has marked the eastern end of the Solent for close to a century

The Nab Tower is half way through reconstruction to extend the structure’s life for a further 50 years.

The iconic tower has marked the eastern end of the Solent for close to a century, survived countless storms and the impact from several ships that have run into it.

So far, the top sections of the outer external steel tower, which had badly deteriorated, have been removed, in a plan to reduce the tower’s overall height – and with it, maintenance costs.
The tower will be equipped with a fixed light with a 12 nautical mile range, together with AIS and RACON beacons. The work is scheduled to be completed in October.
Originally, the 10,000-ton Nab Tower was one of 12 planned to be floated out and sunk across the Varne Shoal in a line from Dungeness to Calais during World War 1 to form an effective wall to stop German U boats from entering the English Channel.
Construction began in 1918 in Shoreham Harbour, where they became known as the ‘Mystery Towers’, for though 5,000 people were employed on their construction, very few knew what the towers were destined for.

By the time the war ended in 1918, only two towers had been completed, and after much discussion the first was named the Nab Tower and floated out to act as a navigation mark off Selsey Bill. Her sister tower was demolished.
The 100ft steel cylindrical tower stands on an 180ft x190ft circular concrete base created from a series of hexagonal shapes which rise like a cake in stepped stages.

The concrete structure was designed to float and be scuppered once in position. The Nab Tower settled on the bottom at an angle, and has the appearance of the nautical equivalent of the ‘leaning tower of Pisa’.

Picture: The Nab Tower. Credit: Barry Pickhall/