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THE FISHERMAN'S GROTTO - a new grotto under construction on Brighton beach of all places

Visitors and residents alike are amazed at the grotesques that are emerging from the fisherman's enclosure on the beach at Brighton, Sussex. Its all down to fisherman Rory who, for a couple of years, has been filling in his spare time during the winter when fishing is minimal with a bit of construction. What is rapidly becoming an iconic landmark on the otherwise vast, pebble beach, Rory's giant stone figures and arches are the latest in Britain's treasury of grottoes. Nicknamed the Shell Shocker Grotto, these strange structures are made from rocks and other flotsam and jetsam gathered from the beach and shells from the local aquarium. It is reckoned that there is another years work before he will need a larger enclosure. In the meantime bewildered spectators keep an eye on the latest creations that are destined to become a tourism hotspot this coming summer.

Picture: spectators look on while Rory sculptures another figure. He can be seen on the left hand side putting the finishing touches to a giant seated figure.

This is all located on the eastern side of the Palace Pier and is a must see feature for grottoes and follies enthusiasts. For more details click the logo below.

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Windlass Well Pump wants a watery welcome - no it's not a wind up!

Some years ago we recovered a windlass well pump in Devon thinking it might be ideal for mounting over a shallow well or spring in The Malverns. Unfortunately its provenance was lost other that it once was the village pump for a hamlet somewhere in the West Country. One ideal option we considered was that it would be ideal as a feature within the Malvern Gothic Well along the Wells Road where the underground grotto would have provided an ideal setting.

Mounted over the small internal well, it could then be seen through the windows and door that faced on to the Wells Road. Unfortunately David Prentice (now deceased) the owner of the Malvern Gothic Well walled up the door and windows before we were able to make this suggestion. In spite of this we have restored the mechanism and added a contemporary brass pump cylinder. All we now need is a good location. Another grotto elsewhere may be an ideal option. If you have any suggestions do let us know. It needs to be under cover and not accessible to children who may catch their fingers in the mechanism. (email bruce@thespas.co.uk for further details)

In the picture Dr Bruce Osborne displays the restored mechanism.

The Historic Spa, Salts and Springs of Epsom and Ewell

Now available to read on line by clicking the cover below. Chapter 2 with its addendum discusses Nonsuch as the original Renaissance grotto.

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