This is the bungalow that sits on the harbour side at the lower end of the Landguard Peninsula. The original part is the left hand side and was built in the late 1800's for the landguard inspector. The extension on the right hand side connected up the back wall of the bungalow with the outhouse and coal house and was built during the Second World War.
The building of the bungalow was commissioned by the Harwich Haven Authority and undertaken by Peter Schuyler Bruff a surprisingly unknown civil engineer whose accomplishments are quite stunning. In fact he has been compared to Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Type his name in to Google and you'll see quite a list appear.
Peter Bruff (1812-1900) along with J Cobbold founded the Eastern Union Railway Company and built the railway line linking Ipswich to London, including a tunnel running through Stoke Hill which followed the tightest curve of a rail line at the time. He also built the Chappel viaduct which is 80 foot high, has 32 arches and is 1066 feet long.
Railways weren't his only skill, he founded Clacton-on-Sea, turning it and neighbour Walton-on-the-Naze in to seaside resorts. At the latter he built the third longest pier in the country.
His knowledge of tunnel building and engineering is possibly why the bungalow is in such good condition. The outside walls are built with bricks normally used to build tunnels rather than the usual house brick and are showing little sign of wear even after 120 odd years of salty winds.
The white building was also added during World War II. There were showers installed here, presumably for the service men that occupied the barrack buildings that were scattered through this part of the reserve during and after WWII.
The water pump that was fixed to the outside wall was now indoors in the new extension, lifting rainwater from the sump under the floor. Rain falling on the roof was the only fresh water source for the occupiers of the bungalow.
The last landguard inspector to live here was John Roland. Amongst his many duties was to keep trespassers off of the strip of land that runs along the harbour side (now open for the public) and to look after the tide gauge that was housed out on the jetty now popular with fishermen and ship watchers. He stayed in the bungalow for 25 years and would have been there when England was hit by the hurricane in 1987.
Apart from brief stints in the First and Second World Wars the bungalow was occupied by various landguard inspectors up until the early 1990's. There are wonderful photos of the couple who lived here in the 1920's playing golf on the reserve - him wearing tweed plus-fours, jacket and cap and her in a straight cut classic 20's style white dress. Sadly we do not have copies of these pictures.
Now, since the reserve was designated as a reserve the bungalow has been home to a succesion of rangers, the extension was turned in to a classroom for visiting school groups, and has for the last two years been our office where I am now sitting and writing this blog!