Semaphore Tower, Surrey

Help us rescue the only remaining semaphore tower in Britain

Chatley Heath Semaphore Tower 2018

Chatley Heath Semaphore Tower is at risk

The Semaphore Tower on Chatley Heath in Surrey is the only surviving semaphore tower in Britain. Complete with a working semaphore mast, it is a unique remnant from the Napoleonic era.

The Grade II* tower was once a vital link in a signalling chain that transmitted messages in just a few minutes from Admiralty House in London to Portsmouth Docks. Now sadly it has fallen into disrepair, with water seeping into its fine brickwork. The water ingress has reached a critical point , threatening the mast's stability and the tower's structural integrity. We urgently need your help to halt the tower's decline, and to enable restoration work to begin this year.

Thanks to the generosity of our wonderful supporters, 93% of the appeal target has already been pledged. But we still need to raise the remaining £50,000 to give the Semaphore Tower a secure future.

With your help, it's not too late to save Chatley Heath Semaphore Tower and preserve its story for future generations. Please support our appeal today. 

Donate now

Semaphore Tower view across Chatley Heath

A vital signalling link for the Royal Navy

In 1794, news reached London of a new signalling system, developed by the French, which could send messages hundreds of miles in a matter of minutes - the semaphore. The technological race was on; the British needed their own signalling system.

For a time, a form of 'shutter' telegraph was used, which was slow and inefficient in poor weather. However, within weeks of the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, orders were issued for the construction of a more efficient semaphore, formed of a mast with moveable arms.

Completed in 1822, the chain of fifteen signalling stations transmitted vital messages back and forth between London and Portsmouth for over 20 years. The Semaphore Tower at Chatley Heath was the only five-storey tower in the line, and it is the only early 19th-century  semaphore station to survive unaltered.  

Read about the history of the Semaphore tower

Semaphore Tower CostingsIn desperate need of repair

The Semaphore Tower lends itself well to reuse as a Landmark. It was always a domestic building as well as an operational structure, built to house the naval lieutenant who operated the signals, and his family.

It could make a magical Landmark for four, its renewed roof a wonderful spot to enjoy long 360 degree views to London and the Home Counties, its refurbished machinery a living lesson in technological and engineering history. The setting of the tower near Wisley in Surrey is a SSSI site surrounded by woodland and heathland rich with moths and butterflies.

Landmark is the Chatley Heath Semaphore Tower’s last hope. Please make a donation today to give this rare survival a future.

View our full plans