The Shivering Sand Towers were designed by Guy Anson Maunsell for the British Army during the second World War. The Thames Sailing Barge 'Greta' sometimes pays them a visit during a sedate day trip sailing around the Thames Estuary.
Pirate radio stations
Various forts were re-occupied for pirate radio in the mid-1960's.
One of the Shivering Sands towers was lost in 1963 after a ship collided with it. In 1964 the Port of London Authority placed wind and tide monitoring equipment on the Shivering Sands searchlight tower, which was isolated from the rest of the fort by the demolished tower. This relayed data to the mainland via a radio link.
In 1964, a few months after Radio Caroline went on air, Screaming Lord Sutch set up Radio Sutch in one of the towers at Shivering Sands. Sutch soon became bored with the project and sold the station to his manager Reginald Calvert who renamed the station Radio City and expanded operations into all of the five towers that remained connected. Calvert's killing in a dispute over the station's ownership (found to be self-defence rather than murder) contributed to the Government passing legislation against the pirates in 1967.
During the pirate era the Port of London Authority frequently complained that its monitoring radio link was being disrupted by the nearby Radio City transmitter.
Red Sands Radio broadcast in 2008 from Red Sand Towers to celebrate the 40th anniversary of pirate radio.