Page 26 - Isle of Wight
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Victorian Forts                                                 Portsmouth                   42

                                            Redcliff Battery

          Commenced            April 1861                           Armament
          Completed            September 1863
          Cost                  £ 4,776                             1869 to c1879 4 x 7-inch R.B.L.
                                                                    c1879 to 1892 4 x 64pr. R.M.L.s
          Map Reference        SZ 638855                            1892 to 1897 3 x 64pr. 58cwt. R.M.L.
          Position             South Wight, west of Culver Cliff,
                               East of Yaverland
          Type                 Coast Defence Battery
          Ditch                Dry
          Guns                 4 (later 3)
          Barrack Accom. None (3 in a small guard room)
          Present use          Nothing substantial  remains

                                                                    Caponiers           2
          History              Subject to slippage into the sea

          Disposal             Abandoned                            Counterscarp        None
          Condition            Nothing remains                      galleries
          Access               Site destroyed by land slippage
                                                                    Haxo casemates None
          Sources              Precis of Correspondence - 1893,
                               Solent Papers No    1891 Armament book          Moncrieff Pits  None

          History and Description

           This battery was built close to the edge of a cliff to the west of Culver Cliff, about 1,000 yards to the
           east of Yaverland Battery and 150ft. above the sea.  Problems with slippage were evident right from
           the start. In a question to Paliamen in 1860 it was memntioned ‘The only part of the island where an
           enemy could land, at the east end, is Sandown Bay, and a fort called Redcliff is being built there. The
           site is said to be an overhanging precipice, and the foundation very dangerous. The report is that the
           guns of the fort will be utterly unable to sweep the beach so as to prevent an opposing force from
           landing.’ Its original armament was four 7-inch R,B.L. guns. The four guns faced seawards and
           behind no.2 gun was the main magazine for 190 barrels of powder. Beside the first three guns were
           shell recesses.  A ditch and Carnot wall surrounded the battery and reached to the cliff edge on either
           side. Two musketry caponiers covered both ditch and the line of the Carnot wall. The entrance to the
           battery was on the north west side over a drawbridge and immediately inside was a single building
           which contained guardroom and an artillery store. Its purpose was to assist Yaverland and Sandown
           Fort in preventing a landing in Sandown Bay. On the left flank part of the cliff began to give way in
           1867 and in 1868 it fell into the sea.  In 1887 it was decided to remove one 64pr. from the the left
           flank of the battery, no 4 gun, and to construct a traverse instead to prevent ships from enfilading the
           battery from the Culver Cliff area. The remaining 64prs. were to be blocked up on 6ft. parapet slides.

           By 1891 Redcliff was being slowly eroded by the collapsing cliff and it was decided to abandon it.
           The landward ditch was filled and all structures demolished.

           In 2008 a few vestiges of the concrete gun positions were visible in the collapsing cliff.

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