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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 10:32 GMT
Cliff tower saved from sea plunge
The spot where Clavell Tower used to stand and the tower in its new place
The derelict tower will now be restored and let out for holidays
A cliff top tower that inspired authors Thomas Hardy and PD James has been dismantled brick by brick and rebuilt to stop it falling into the sea.

Clavell Tower, at the World Heritage site of Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset, was metres away from a cliff ledge.

It has taken 18 months, at a cost of 898,000, to relocate the historic four-storey derelict monument.

The 16,272 stones were numbered, recorded and transferred to the new site 82ft (25m) inland.

The final stone was placed on the tower on Monday in a traditional topping-out ceremony.

The trust said the tower would have succumbed to coastal erosion if it had been left where it was.

The monument was built by the Reverend John Richards Clavell, of Smedmore, in 1830 as an observatory and folly.

It was used by coastguards in the late 19th and early 20th centuries but fell into disuse, becoming derelict after it was damaged by fire in the 1930s.

Thomas Hardy used it in his Wessex Poems and it inspired PD James's novel, The Black Tower.

Clavell Tower where is used to be
The tower would have succumbed to coastal erosion if it had been left

The crime writer has backed the campaign to save the building, which is also known as the Tower of the Winds.

The project was funded by a lottery grant and donations made to the Landmark Trust, the leaseholder of the Grade II listed tower.

The restored building will finance its own upkeep as the trust plans to let it out for holidays.

Electricity, water, a kitchen and bathroom will be installed before it opens to the public in September.

Peter Pearce, director of the Landmark Trust, which co-conducted the topping-out ceremony, said the move had been "a significant milestone" in saving Clavell Tower.

"The tower's future as a much-loved local landmark is now secure," he added.

"Its new life as a place for people to stay and enjoy begins in September."

Work begins to save cliff tower
05 Sep 06 |  Dorset

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