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Fort Victoria (Sconce Point Battery)
Cost                  £
Map Reference
Barrack Accom.
Present use
SZ 339898  
Isle of Wight / West      
Triangular Casemated Sea Battery
Sea facing casemates remain, part
aquarium, tea room and shop.
Infantry barracks. Submarine
mining depot  
Vacated by Army 1962
Partly demolished 1969 
Open to the public all year round  
Solent Papers No 2, 
Precis of correspondence prior to 1898 
The same invasion scare of  the 1840s that led to the construction of Fort Albert resulted in the construction of Fort
Victoria on Sconce point to cover the deep water channel. The original plans called for two casemated batteries meeting at
an obtuse angle, the flanks terminating in square towers and a loopholed wall closing the fort off to the rear. Again money
dictated another plan and the resultant triangular fort was complete by 1855. The two seaward casemated batteries meet at
a right angle with the flanks refused to protect against enfilade. The gun casemates had open upper portions to allow
enemy shell fire to pass through rather than cause it to burst inside injuring the gun crews. A broad parados stood behind
the casemates to protect the inner barracks which closed off the gorge. An earthen glacis protected the front of the sea
facing casemates. This sloped down to a wet ditch which protected the fort against infantry attack. The rear of the fort
was closed by two barrack blocks each of two storeys joined by a loopholed wall with the entrance in the middle fitted
with a portcullis and drawbridge.  Six 32pr. SB guns on traversing platforms mounted on each barrack roof could fire
seawards over the top of the lower casemated sea batteries. Additional gun ports facing seawards were sited on the upper
floors of each barrack but were never armed. The fort was briefly armed with an additional three 7-inch R.B.L.s  but in
1872 the Defence Committee recommended that the fort be dismantled The fort was disarmed in 1876 when it had
become increasingly used purely as a barracks. The Royal Engineers took over the fort in that year and it was converted
into a submarine mining depot, the casemates were used for storing sea mines. The parados was removed and buildings
added as offices. A tramway was constructed allowing loaded mines to be run out to the pier for placing on mine-laying
boats. The north ditch was filled with cable tanks and a test room was built into the hillside. An experimental sea-saw
searchlight pit was fitted west fo the fort in 1888. Three searchlights were added in 1898-99 to illuminate the minefield.
The Royal Engineers left in 1920 and the fort was placed in care and maintenance. It was use as a store for towed targets
for the nearby practice batteries in 1939. From 1941-43 it served as a barracks for the 72nd. Coast Training Regiment,
R.A. It also served for various  units training prior to D -Day. The fort was relinquished by the army in 1962 and the local
council demolished the barracks completely  in 1969. Only the seaward casemates survive.
History and Description
Victorian Forts
Original armament
10 x 68pr. SB western, 
11 x 10-inch SB shell guns northern, 
6 x 32pr. SB on each barrack roof
  3 x 7-inch RBL salient casemates
Withdrawn in 1872
3 x 7-inch RBL 8 x 10-inch S.B. 
10 x 68pr. 12 x 32pr. 
Proposed 13 x 64pr. R.M.L.

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