July 28, 2005

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

MARTELLO TOWER. A round, low tower, with guns mounted on the flat roof, built for coastal defence in England from 1793 onwards, mainly during the Napoleanic wars but also later and on a wide scale. There are examples in Jersey, Orkney, Ireland, Canada, South Africa and the U.S.A. (Key West, Florida). In form they derive from the traditional Mediterranean watch tower, e.g., that on Cape Mortella, Corsica, hence the name. [Although not truly a satisfactory explanation for the transposed vowels. Ed.]

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition

ANYway, be that as it may, in another one of those instances where I think something is more obscure than it turns out to be in actuality, the Internets is just eat up with information about these things. For the ones in England, it appears one of the best sources is this page--the Martello Towers Homepage.

For the Key West version, this site run by the Key West Arts and Historical Society is pretty good, aside from the icky haunted doll exhibit. The Canucks have this site, the South Africans have this one, and the Irish have this one, and, of course, there's the original prototype, but the page is written is some strange foreign language.

So, there you go.

As for me, I need to work on my work, because I'm hitting the road at noon today to go take the kids for their school registration.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at July 28, 2005 09:51 AM