Historic property with No 1 The Thames address has been snapped up for half the price of average UK house
It was the last gun tower of its kind to be built, constructed to protect Britain against French invasion
An extremely unique 168-year-old property with the iconic address Number 1 The Thames has been snapped up by a buyer for around half the price of the average UK home.
The old gun tower located at the mouth of the River Thames in Kent was bought by an American buyer after being sold for £159,000, £9,000 over the asking price. The average UK home costs just under £300,000.
Property agent Savills promoted it as a “a unique and peaceful position with far-reaching sea and coastal views".
It is not yet known what the overseas buyer plans to do with the property which can only be accessed at low tide.
The military building defended the nation during the First and Second World Wars, from the mouth of the River Thames in Kent.
Auctioneers said the Martello tower-like building, on a spit of land between the River Thames and River Medway, “is a first”.
The ex-army site is only accessible twice a day, at low tide via a causeway and owners and guests will have to use a boat at any other time.
It was the last gun tower of its kind to be built, constructed to protect the nearby military dockyards against French invasion.
Anglo-French tensions ran high in the 1850s and the nation feared a naval attack.
The tower guarded the key link between the Thames and Medway rivers, which led to Royal Navy Dockyards in Sheerness and Chatham.
However, artillery technology quickly improved and the construction became obsolete in the mid-19th century, almost immediately after it was completed.
By the end of the century it was transformed into a defence against raids by fast torpedo boats.
Decades later it was altered again - new, quick-firing guns were added during World War I and World War II.
The property off the Isle of Grain, built in 1855 was decommissioned in 1956.
It is around four-and-a-half miles from the nearest train station of Swale but the buyer needs to spend a large amount to repair and return it to its former glory.
Savills Auctions Director Jeremy Lamb said the sale is rare adding: “There is always excitement when unusual lots come along as they have a special power to capture the imagination.
“We’ve had water towers and military sea forts in our sales in the past, but this gun tower is a first. A blank canvas with heaps of history and phenomenal sea views, not to mention its coveted No. 1 the Thames address.
"Historically, rare lots like this have seen significant interest in our auctions. Last summer the hammer came down on Bull Sand Fort in the Humber Estuary at nearly 10 times guide price after attracting bids from around the world and the year before that we auctioned a water tower in Essex which has since received permission for residential use and a chance to design a once in a lifetime property.”
A spokesperson described the potential buy as “atmospheric.”
They said: “The tower occupies a unique and peaceful position with far-reaching sea and coastal views. The village of Grain is approximately one mile to the west. The tower is atmospheric internally with a series of rooms, exposed brickwork and concrete.
"Of interest to developers and occupiers, the tower represents a unique opportunity with potential for alternative uses or development subject to the necessary consents.”