The existing Signal House is a Grade II Listed Building, a rare survival which once housed the local operator of a semaphore signal station at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. The station acted as a form of pre-Radar early warning system in case of invasion. There were two Semaphores on the Island, one at Burwood, and another at Courts End. Both stations were closed in 1815 at the end of the Napoleonic War and the one at Burwood was demolished.
Description of the Signal House at Courts End
Date Listed: 29 October 1986
English Heritage Building ID: 123133
OS Grid Reference: TR0247793772
OS Grid Coordinates: 602477, 193772
Latitude/Longitude: 51.6064, 0.9226
Location: Courts End, Foulness, Essex SS3 9XT
Cottage. Circa 1800. Timber framed and weather boarded. Grey slate roof. Left ridge and forward off centre right gault brick chimney stacks, that to right plastered. Single storey. 2 windows, to left a 2-light casement with glazing
bars, to right a small paned vertically sliding sash. There are 2 doors, each with 2 vertical upper lights, one to right the other between the windows. Pentice boards over. The frame appears to be intact with a side purlin ridge
board roof. There are 6 rooms. The 2 chimney stacks have back to back fireplaces, one with a C19 cast iron grate and surround. Original dining room cupboard. A line of 28 coastal signal stations from North Foreland to Lands End
was established by the Admiralty in 1794, the line was extended to Great Yarmouth the following year and subsequently on to cover most of the coastline. A signal house is shown in the position of this building on the Map of Foulness by J. Grist 1801. There were 2 signal houses on Foulness, the other at Burwood was demolished late C19. In 1811 the Officer (Lieutenant) in occupation of this house was John Lundin. The equipment comprised a 50 foot mast with a 30 foot top mast and 30 foot cross yard from which could be displayed from 10 hoists, one
red flag, one blue pendant and 4 black balls, which could be arranged through 145 combinations, each of which was related to an arbitrary signal.
Source: R.W. Crump, Foulness Archaeological Society.