The Principality of Sealand

One cannot but be bemused by British eccentricity sometimes, with a nod to Passport to Pimlico, I mused on the existence of the claimed Principality, or micro-nation, of Sealand, which is nothing more than a wartime platform that lies off the Suffolk Coast. You can easily see it while eating your fish & chips on Felixstowe seafront…as we did.

The platform, known as Roughs Tower, is about 12 kilometres off the coast and is a Maunsell Sea Fort, originally called HM Fort Roughs, built as an anti-aircraft battery during World War II. In the 1960s it was being used as a broadcasting base for pirate radio but was apparently seized by Paddy Roy Bates, in 1967 with the intention of establishing his own pirate station and then an independent sovereign state with its own constitution, flag, stamps, coinage, and coat of arms. Sealand, however, lies within the territorial waters of the United Kingdom and given that it is an artificial “island” is not recognised officially by any sovereign state.

Bates moved to the mainland in old age and died in 2012 aged 91. He named his son Michael “regent” in his will, Michael himself lives on the mainland in Suffolk. Sealand used to have an online newspaper, but sadly that exists now only in the Wayback Machine (the Internet Archive) here.

Oh, and this is how Felixstowe looks if you turn your head right from where we were eating our fish & chips

And on the beach and rocky sea defences, several Turnstones (Arenaria interpres)