The Redoubt fort was built between 1804 and 1810 to support the associated Martello towers in defending against the threat of an invasion by Napoleon. It has defended the Eastbourne coast for nearly 200 years. Like its twin Dymchurch Redoubt it was built as a barracks and supply depot for the towers, and designed for 11 guns, although only 10 guns were installed. During the First World War the Redoubt was used by the military police as a headquarters and temporary jail. Following this, the Redoubt was purchased by Eastbourne Borough Council for £150 with the plan to turn it into a venue for leisure activities. During the Second World War the building was requisitioned by the army to be used for storage. Canadian troops also spent time there in the build up to the D-Day landings.
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The Redoubt has 24 rooms which are known as Casemates, and these housed up to 200 men, although in an emergency up to 350 could be accommodated. The companies of men who lived at the Redoubt were known as the garrison.
The walls of casemates 2 and 3 still have their black iron shelf frames. Under each shelf frame there would have been a bed, and when the beds were folded away during the day, soldiers hung their kit on these frames.
There may have been some women living at the Redoubt, as officially the Army allowed six officers in a company to live with their wives on site. They would share the same barracks or sleeping quarters as the rest of the men, with only a blanket hung across the room from privacy.
As the Redoubt was built onto the shingle beach it was never intended to hold water as it would just drain away. Even though it was a massive obstacle the dry moat still needed defending if an attacker managed to climb down into it to assault the walls. For protection, five caponiers were built in the moat. If the enemy descended into the moat, the soldiers could fire on them at close range from inside the caponiers.