A Fort with a View
by Discover_re on November 2 2021 13:19 hr CE(S)T Shortlink to this report: [ https://urbx.be/huwy ]
Visit date October 12 2021 at 14 hr
Visit duration 2 hours
|Finding out the location
|| very easy
|| very easy
|Risk of being seen
|General condition of the place
|Traces of vandalism
|Good place for taking pictures?
|Did you see other people?
|| none or very few
This fort was built between 1863 and 1871 as part of Prime Minister Lord Palmerstone’s fortifications of Portsmouth Harbour against the French. The building is semi-circular and faces out towards the Solent. It contains twenty two gun casements, protected 14 feet thick granite walls. During WWII, the guns were moved onto the roof as the threat of invasion came from the sky. The Fort was disarmed in 1956 and until 1999 was used for storage.
The fort can be seen and is signposted clearly from the road. Access to the beach nearby is a popular spot for dog-walkers. Tall fences and barbed wire surround the Fort. In previous visits there had been a security hut with guard present. However on this trip it seemed that the security was no longer present and entry was easy- through a hole in the fencing.
The Fort is split into two sections. Firstly, we explored the gun casements first where 26 guns had once stood. The remains of these casements are in good condition and explorers can get a good sense of what the place might have looked like a hundred years ago. The basement would have been used to store ammunition and shell lifts were used to transport it to the guns above. A superbly preserved shell lift can be seen on the site, a great feat of engineering!
The barracks, which are on either side of the main entrance to the Fort, are less well-preserved. This made entry slightly harder to this half of the site. These barracks used to house over 200 men, but they are now stripped and birds have claimed the space as their own. The Fort was disbanded in the 1950s, and has been abandoned for over 20 years. The living quarters have been left to rot and care was needed on the unsteady flooring.
The fort is s a Grade II listed building. Since 1999 there have been numerous efforts to convert the site into luxury living, but so far these have all fallen through. After a major fire in March 2019, it was sold for £5.5million. The current plan is to turn it into 22 three-storey townhouses and 4 apartments. with panoramic views of Solent water and the Isle of Wight. Once completed these are expected to be worth over £1 million each
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