My latest visit to the UTC@harbourside was bitter cold and sparklingly bright. There was a lot happening on site. Pylons were being drilled for the base of the new building that will link the carpenters’ and marine workshops together. Huge drills dug holes deep into the ground which were then filled with concrete as the earth was extracted.
The smaller carpenters’ shed was starting to look very different. A concrete floor was down now, hiding the supports that were put in underneath. The inside walls were lined with a double row of low iron stakes. These will hold in place panels serving the dual purpose of insulation and flood barrier.
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.