During the 1840s and 1850s, Newhaven had seen a great deal of development – a new ferry service, the arrival of the railway and enlargement of the harbour. These improvements made the town of even greater strategic importance, especially as, at 56 miles, it is the closest south coast port to London, it was imperative that therefore that the area was well defended.
Following a tour of inspection by the Duke of Wellington, a report was made on the defences and they were found to be sadly lacking. The Martello tower and gun battery at Seaford were in danger of being undermined by coastal erosion and the old 1759 gun battery at Newhaven had only one gun and that was laying unmanned on the ground.
The proposal for Newhaven was that the old battery was rearmed with two 68pdrs and four 32pdrs. In addition a new battery- the Lunette- was to be built on the foreshore on land purchased from the Earl of Sheffield for the princely sum of £70. This battery was armed with 4 guns and built from 1855. It’s life was short partly because its field of fire was compromised by the new harbour arm but also the building of Newhaven Fort. The battery can just be seen in an 1861 oil painting of fishing boats leaving the harbour.
Although derelict at the moment, plans are afoot to better interpret the battery and stop the current neglect.