A celebration to mark the 200th anniversary of the first peal of the 12 bells at the Waterloo Tower will be held at Quex estate on Sunday, September 8.
The Waterloo Tower was built in 1819 by Major Powell-Cotton’s, Great-great-great Uncle John Powell Powell. Named after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the Tower has a wonderful history and many quirky stories attached to it, as does John Powell Powell. It was the first 12 Bell Tower in Kent and is unique in its design and location as it is not attached to a church. An episode of the sci fi series Blakes7 was filmed there in 1978.
Originally the tower stood alone in the field, with just a low fence to keep out the sheep that grazed there. The red bricks for the building came from the Faversham brickfields. The cast iron spire was added a year or so after the building was completed; it was made by the Head Carpenter at Quex, together with a millwright and iron founder from Sandwich, named William Mackney.
It is a remarkable structure put together like a giant ‘meccano’ set – small cross pieces hold the sides of the legs together. While some pieces of the structure are relatively small, some are very large and one has to remember that this was built before the days of electrical power and tower cranes.
The four corner rooms at the base of the tower were originally ‘pavillions’ with two exit doors so that, if all the doors were opened, visitors could complete a circuit around the base of the tower through all the rooms. In 1896 one of the corner rooms was consecrated as a family mausoleum and the remains of Henry Horace Powell-Cotton were removed from the family vault at All Saints Church and brought there for reburial.
In 1916 his widow was also buried there. Following the death of Major Percy Powell-Cotton in 1940, and his wife Hannah in 1964, their ashes were placed in the mausoleum. In time they have been joined by their children, the last of whom, Christopher, died in April 2006.
The Waterloo Tower is one of three towers at Quex. The others are the Clock Tower and the Round Tower.
Heritage talks and tours of the Waterloo Tower are conducted by Susan Johnson, of the Quex Museum.
The anniversary will be celebrated on Sunday, September 8 from noon until 6pm. There will be live local music from Blue Moon Two, Porch Swing Blues, Snake Oil Trading Company and the Miles Cookman Band, along with face painting, auction, raffle, food and drink and more.
Throughout the afternoon, there will be visits to the Tower. All money raised will support the future of the Waterloo Tower.
Pre- booked online- Adult: £7.50, Over 5s: £4.50, Family (2 adults + 3 children) £20, under 5’s: free. Purchase your tickets here
On the day (if tickets still available)- Adult: £10, Over 5s: £5.50, Family (2 adults + 3 children) £25, under 5s: free
Details with thanks to Susan Johnson and Quex estate