On my visit to UTC@harbourside yesterday, there was snow, then rain and then sun. The place was heaving with huge equipment, men in PPE and mud. They were in the midst of digging holes for the 162 pylons going underneath the larger Marine Workshops building. At the Carpenter’s shed it was slightly quieter. Insulation was going down in preparation for a concrete floor. As we made our way back to the site entrance I was shown where the very first new bricks of the final outside wall were being laid. With so much still to change here, it is exciting to think that there is already a small part of the outside wall that will stay just the way it looked yesterday.
The old Marine and Carpenter’s Workshops in Newhaven Harbour have been empty for a long time now but they were once a hive of industrial activity where boats, ferries and even a paddle steamer were maintained and repaired, with the adjacent railway buildings housing their own railway workshops.
The buildings will now have a new lease of life. Renovation and rebuilding will transform this beautiful old building into a new University Technical College for 14-19-year-olds. UTC@Harbourside will specialise in marine and environmental engineering. The partners behind this new school have hired me to document the process of this renovation. For 15 months, I will be taking a weekly journey down the road from Lewes to the coast to watch this old abandoned building emerge as a new place for learning and inspiration.