Tuesday, March 9, 1999 Published at 02:05 GMT
Bad weather delays lighthouse move
Belle Tout: In danger of toppling over the cliff
Coastal erosion means the base of the Belle Tout lighthouse now stands just three metres (10ft) from the cliff edge at Beachy Head.
Plans to move the building 17 metres (55ft) inland have been put off until Tuesday.
Regular rock falls mean owners Mark and Louise Roberts have little choice but to move house - literally.
The entire operation will cost them £180,000. They could have applied for a grant but Mr Roberts says the delay might have proved catastrophic.
"We had to mobilise the engineers to come down and do the work," he told the BBC.
All the building's foundations have been removed - everything under the skirting boards has now been replaced with a network of concrete and steel.
The plan is to lift the building in stages of just a few centimetres using 30 small jacks connected to a hydraulic engine and controlled by a computer. Once secured at the right height, the building will be run back on a steel plate and oiled neoprene sliding track.
"The worry is when we actually first engage the jacks to move it," says Mr Roberts. "Obviously there is an opposite and equal reaction - if we are moving the lighthouse one way, there is energy being put down on to the cliff pushing it the other way."
If all goes well, the Belle Tout lighthouse will be put down on the site of an old croquet lawn.
The East Sussex landmark was built in 1834. Lighthouse duties were transferred to a new building constructed on the rocks below Beachy Head in 1902. Belle Tout became a private residence from the 1920s.
Megalab '99 is run by the Daily Telegraph and the BBC's Tomorrow's World television programme as part of National Science Week. Megalab features the world's largest mass experiments.