Palmerston Forts

The Palmerston Forts are a group of forts and associated structures around the coast of the United Kingdom.

The forts were built during the Victorian period on the recommendations of the 1860 Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom, prompted by concerns about the strength of the French Navy,[1] and strenuous debate in Parliament about whether the cost could be justified.[2] The name comes from their association with Lord Palmerston, who was Prime Minister at the time and promoted the idea.

The works were also known as Palmerston's Follies, partly because the first ones, around Portsmouth, had their main armament facing inland to protect Portsmouth from a land-based attack, and thus (as it appeared to some) facing the wrong way to defend from a French attack. The name also derived from the use of the term "folly" to indicate "a costly ornamental building with no practical value". They were criticized because at the time of their completIon the threat from the French navy had passed, largely due to the Franco-Prussian war of 1870,[3] and because the technology of the guns had become obsolete. They were the most costly and extensive system of fixed defences undertaken in Britain in peacetime.[4]

Some sixty years previously, there had been a similar period of defence works construction, when a couple of hundred circular towers were built for the same purpose (mainly along the Sussex, Kent and Suffolk coast to protect London) called Martello Towers, but these had become outdated.

The new defences were built to defend a number of key areas of the British, Irish and Channel Island coastline, in particular areas around military bases, including:

A complete list is available online.[5]

Fort Albert - geograph.org.uk - 164047
Fort Albert, one of the Palmerston Forts, located on the Isle of Wight

See also

References

  1. ^ Brown, D. (2006). "Palmerston and Anglo--French Relations, 1846--1865". Diplomacy & Statecraft. 17 (4): 675–692. doi:10.1080/09592290600942918.
  2. ^ King-hall, S. (January 1, 1951). "A Defence Debate Ninety Years Ago". Parliamentary Affairs. V (2): 297–304. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  3. ^ Hicks, Peter. "'Palmerston's Follies': a reply to the French 'threat'". Napoleon.org. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  4. ^ "Fort Nelson History". Royal Armouries. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  5. ^ "Victorian Forts and Artillery: List of Royal Commission Forts". Victorianforts.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-17.

External links

East Weare Battery

East Weare Battery is a former 19th-century gun battery to the east of the Verne Citadel on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England. The battery was built in the 1860s as a result of the Royal Commission to guard the new Portland harbour and Royal Navy institutions on the island. Five open batteries were built housing 20 9" and 10" RMLs. After 1877 the batteries were designated by letter 'A' to 'E'.

In 1900 the batteries were re-armed with more modern breech loading guns. 'A' battery received two 9.2 inch Breech Loading (BL) guns and 'B' battery received three BL 6 inch Mk VII guns on Central Pivot Mk II mounts. By 1919 the 6-inch guns had been removed, but the 9.2-inch guns remained in place until the dissolution of Coast Artillery in 1956.

The site was then used for training by the Royal Navy, which has damaged some of the gun positions. The batteries are derelict and there is no public access. Parts of the batteries are now listed as Ancient Monuments by Historic England.

Fort Nelson, Hampshire

This article is about Fort Nelson near Fareham, England. For other places with a similar name, see Fort Nelson (disambiguation).Fort Nelson, in the civil parish of Boarhunt in the English county of Hampshire, is one of five defensive forts built on the summit of Portsdown Hill in the 1860s, overlooking the important naval base of Portsmouth. It is now part of the Royal Armouries, housing their collection of artillery, and a Grade I Listed Building.

Freshwater Redoubt

Freshwater Redoubt, also known as Fort Redoubt (map reference SZ345856) is an old Palmerston fort built in Freshwater Bay on the western end of the Isle of Wight. Construction work for the fort began in 1855 and was completed in 1856. It was finally sold in 1928 and has now been converted into a private residence.

Horse Sand Fort

Horse Sand Fort is one of the larger Royal Commission sea forts in the Solent off Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. The fort is one of four built as part of the Palmerston Forts constructions. It is 200 feet (61 m) across, built between 1865 and 1880, with two floors and a basement and armour-plated all round.

Liscard

Liscard is an area of the town of Wallasey, in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England. The most centrally located of Wallasey's townships, it is the main shopping area of the town, with many shops located in the Cherry Tree Shopping Centre. At the 2001 Census the population was recorded at 14,301, increasing to 15,574 at the 2011 Census.

No Man's Land Fort

No Man's Land Fort, also referred to as No Man's Fort, is a sea fort in the Solent, near Portsmouth, England. It is one of the Palmerston Forts built between 1867 and 1880 after the recommendations of the 1859 Royal Commission. It is 200 feet in diameter, and lies 1.4 miles (2.3 km; 1.2 nmi) off the coast of the Isle of Wight.

Nodes Point Battery

Nodes Point Battery (map reference SZ635898) is a battery located at Nodes Point on the Isle of Wight. It is one of the many Palmerston Forts built on the island to protect it in response to a perceived French invasion. Construction of the battery began on 16 August 1901 and was completed by 20 April 1904.

The battery was armed with two 9.2-inch Breech Loading guns and two 6-inch Mark VII Breech loading guns. By 1932 only the two 6-inch guns remained.

From 1949 the battery was used for Territorial Army Coast Artillery training. On the abolition of coast artillery in 1956 the fort was disarmed and the site sold. The remains of the site are now used as a holiday park.

Palmerston Forts, Bristol Channel

The Palmerston Forts along the Bristol Channel include:

Brean Down Fort, Weston-super-Mare

Flat Holm Battery, Flat Holm

Lavernock Battery, Penarth

Nell's Point Battery, Barry Island [1]

Steep Holm Battery, Steep Holm [2]

Palmerston Forts, Isle of Wight

The Palmerston Forts are a group of forts and associated structures built during the Victorian period on the recommendations of the 1860 Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom. The name comes from their association with Lord Palmerston, who was Prime Minister at the time and promoted the idea.

The structures were built as a response to a perceived threat of a French invasion. The works were also known as Palmerston's Follies as, by the time they were completed the threat (if it had ever existed) had passed, largely due to the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and technological advancements leading to the guns becoming out-of-date.As well as new structures, extensive modifications were made to existing defences.

The defences on the Isle of Wight were built to protect the approaches to the Solent, Southampton and Portsmouth. They consist of three separate groups, those at the western end of the island, those at the eastern end, and four built in the Solent.

The information in the tables is taken from documents for each site, from the Victorian Forts website.

Palmerston Forts, Milford Haven

The Palmerston Forts around Milford Haven include:

Fort Hubberstone

Popton Fort

Scoveston Fort

South Hook Fort

Stack Rock Fort

Thorn Island Fort

Llanion Battery

St Catherine's Fort, Tenby

Chapel Bay Fort

West Blockhouse Fort

Dale Fort

East and West Blockhouses

Palmerston Forts, Plymouth

Several of the forts surrounding Plymouth were built as a result of a decision in Lord Palmerston's premiership to deter the French from attacking naval bases in the south of the country. The Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom reported in 1860 and resulted in a huge building programme. Examples of the forts are:

Agaton Fort

Fort Austin

Fort Bovisand

Bowden Fort

Brownhill Battery

Cawsand Fort

Crownhill Fort

Drake's Island Battery

Egg Buckland Keep

Ernesettle Fort

Fort Efford

Forder Battery

Hawkins Battery

Knowles Battery

Laira Battery

Mount Edgcumbe Garden Battery

Penlee Battery

Picklecombe Fort

Plymouth Breakwater Fort

Polhawn Battery

Raleigh Battery

Fort Scraesdon

Staddon Fort

Stamford Fort

Fort Tregantle

Watch House Battery

Whitesand Bay Battery

Woodlands Fort

Palmerston Forts, Portsmouth

The Palmerston Forts that encircle Portsmouth were built in response to the 1859 Royal Commission dealing with the perceived threat of a French invasion. The forts were intended to defend the Dockyard in Portsmouth. Construction was carried out by the Royal Engineers and civilian contractors (under Royal Engineer supervision). In addition to the newly constructed forts, extensive work was carried out on existing fortifications.

The Portsmouth defences can be split into four distinct groups of forts, comprising four sea forts built in the Solent, a group of forts on Portsea Island, a group of forts along Portsdown Hill overlooking Portsmouth, and a group of forts on the Gosport peninsula.

As well as these forts surrounding Portsmouth, further protection for Portsmouth was provided by additional Palmerston forts on the Isle of Wight.

Redcliff Battery

Redcliff Battery (map reference SZ638855) is a battery located to the west of the Culver Cliffs and east of Yaverland on the Isle of Wight. It is one of the many Palmerston Forts built on the island to protect it in response to a perceived French invasion. Construction of the battery began in April 1861 and was complete by September 1863 at a cost of £4,776.

Sandown Barrack Battery

Sandown Barrack Battery (map reference SZ594837) is a battery located in Sandown Bay close to Sandown on the Isle of Wight in England. It is one of the many Palmerston Forts built on the island to protect it in response to a perceived French invasion.

Sandown Fort

Sandown Fort (map reference SZ597839) is a fort built in Sandown on the Isle of Wight in the middle of Sandown Bay. It is one of the many Palmerston Forts built on the island to protect it in response to a perceived French invasion. It was a replacement of the earlier Sandown Diamond Fort (see Sandown Bay) as in 1859 the Royal Commission felt it did not offer suitable protection. Construction of the fort began in April 1861 and was completed by September 1864 at a cost of £73,876. In later documents it is often referred to as Granite Fort. The fort originally had 18 9-inch R.M.L guns facing the sea behind iron shields, these guns were later upgraded and an extra 5 inches of armor was added.The fort was sold in 1930 but during World War II the fort played a significant role in the D-Day landings as it housed sixteen pumps for the PLUTO (Pipe Line Under The Ocean) operation to Allies supplied with fuel. Each of the 16 pumps supplied 36,000 imperial gallons (1,000 barrels; 160,000 litres) of fuel per day at a pressure of 1,500 lb per square inch. In the 1950's the site went on to house the Isle of Wight Zoo, which it continues to do so to this day.

Spitbank Fort

Spitbank Fort or Spitsand Fort or Spit Sand Fort or simply Spit Fort is a sea fort built as a result of the 1859 Royal Commission. The fort is one of four built as part of the Palmerston Forts constructions. Located in the Solent, near Portsmouth, England, and is now a luxury hotel.

Steynewood Battery

Steynewood Battery (map reference SZ641869) is a battery located between Bembridge and Whitecliff Bay on the Isle of Wight. It is one of the many Palmerston Forts built on the island to protect it in response to a perceived threat of French invasion. Construction of the battery began in 1889 and was completed by 1893.

Verne Citadel

Verne Citadel is a 19th-century citadel on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, England. Located on the highest point of Portland, Verne Hill, it sits in a commanding position overlooking Portland Harbour, which it was built to defend. It later became HM Prison The Verne in 1949.

Verne High Angle Battery

The Verne High Angle Battery is a former 19th-century gun battery on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England. Situated close to the Verne Citadel, the battery is Grade II Listed, and forms part of the citadel's scheduled monument status. The battery has become a tourist attraction, while the battery's tunnels are often referred to by their local name 'Ghost Tunnels'.

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