Page 18 - Bristol Defences
P. 18

Victorian Forts                                             Portsmouth                       36

                                       Warden Point Battery

          Commenced            1862                                 Armament
          Completed            1863
          Cost                  £ 12,899 (£6,000 for drainage)      1862/3  4 x 7-inch R.M.L.s  4 x 9-inch R.M.L.s
          Map Reference        SZ 325876                            1873
          Position             Isle of Wight - West - Warden        1892/93  8 x 9-inch R.M.L.s
                               Point                                     4 x 9-inch R.M.L.
          Type                 Coast Defence barbette battery            1 x 9-inch H.A. experimental
                                                                         1 x 9-inch L.R. experimental
          Ditch                dry - three sides only               1901-02
          Guns                 8 (modified for 6 then 2)                 4 x 6-inch B.L. Mk.VII with 3 x 9.2-inch B.L.
                                                                         added outside.
          Barrack Accom. 4 NCOs & men                               1907   2 x 3 pounder QF guns added
          Present use          Holiday camp (closed down 1995)      1936    d  i  s  a  r  m  e  d

                                                                    Caponiers           3
          History              Coast Defence. 9 inch RML High
                               Angle Gun test site 1885 to 1888
          Disposal             Sold 1957                            Counterscarp        None
          Condition            Walls remain, magazines buried       galleries
          Access               Permission of owner
                               Solent Papers No 2  ‘The Needles Defences’ A.  Haxo casemates None
                               Cantwell Portsmouth & Solent Armament Book
          Sources              1891
                                                                    Moncrieff Pits      None

          History and Description

           In 1794 an eight-gun earthwork was proposed for the site, but was never constructed. A two gun battery occupied the
           cliff-top in 1803 and the Royal Commission proposed a six-gun battery to replace it in 1860. The battery that was finally
           constructed had positions for eight guns, in two groups of four, firing en-barbette. The armament was four 7-inch of 7 tons
           with four 9-inch of 12 tons. In 1873 the 7-inch guns were replaced with the intended armament, another four 9-inch
           RMLs. At the centre rear of the gun positions was a large magazine. The landward side of the fort was protected by a
           loopholed wall with caponiers at the the northeast and southeast corners. Another projected out from the east wall to
           protect the entrance and flank the gorge wall. This, according to 1891 plans, served as a shell filling room and laboratory.
           A ditch ran around the landward sides of the fort. Barrack accommodation was not provided as the soldiers to man the fort
           were to be quartered in nearby Golden Hill fort. Between 1880 and 1895 several proposals were made to rearm the fort
           with heavier guns but nothing was done until 1892-3 when the left-hand RML emplacements were demolished in order to
           built two experimental emplacements for long-range and high-angle mountings, together with a magazine sited between
           the two emplacements. The trials proved to be a success and the gun emplacements at Warden Point were demolished in
           1898 as the site was not suitable for a high angle battery. In 1898-99 four 6-inch BL Mark VII gun emplacements were
           fitted to the fort in two groups of two. At the same time two 9.2-inch gun emplacements were constructed to the south of
           the battery. A third one was added in 1900. The armament was in place by 1902. The four 6-inch guns were put in reserve
           by the Owen Committee recommendations in 1907. In World War One the fort saw a new lease of life with the 6-inch
           guns reactivated, but two were removed in 1914. Two 3-pounder QF guns had been fitted between the right and centre
           9.2-inch BL guns in 1907 and were used until 1918. After the war the guns were used by the Territorials for Summer
           camps. The 6-inch emplacements had to be rebuilt in 1923-24 because of subsidence. One 9.2-inch BL was removed in
           1929 and the others in 1936. Light AA weapons and searchlights were installed in World War Two, the fort serving
           throughout the War as HQ 530 Coast regiment. It was retained for storage after the war and was sold off in 1957. Until
           1995 it was part of a holiday camp. The site has now been developed for housing; only the enclosing walls are now visible
           but the magazines remain under the site.

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