Letter: Frustrated by preventable Hurst Castle collapse
SIR – I would like to show my frustration and disappointment at the collapse of some of the wall of Hurst Castle.
This collapse was entirely preventable. I feel that the custodians of the castle, English Heritage, have acted without required haste to mitigate the scouring of the foundations on the eastern section of the wall.
English Heritage have been made aware on numerous occasions of the continued erosion of the foundation. Even if mitigation was temporary, this probably would have prevented the collapse.
In correspondence with English Heritage after the collapse, they have stated that there was no prior appearance of cracks to the masonry. This approach of waiting for the masonry to show signs of failing shows a lack of understanding of the urgency of the situation on English Heritage’s part (not to mention a lack of sound engineering practice).
The last time I visited the castle prior to the collapse (16th February), I estimate that the loss of foundation had left an overhang of about 10 metres of unsupported wall. In my correspondence to report this to English Heritage, I mentioned about the criticality of effecting some form of shoring/repair immediately. I didn’t receive a reply to this cautionary email.
Whilst it is easy with the benefit of hindsight to be wise after the event, you would expect the custodian of the nation’s historic buildings to be proactive and very conservative when it comes to their preservation and protection.
This it would appear to have not been the case in Hurst Castle’s collapse.
Not only is this a blow to the nation’s heritage, I know many local people will be saddened at the failure to protect our local landmark.
* Main image: Zack Maynard/408 Photography