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P. 8


                                    Portsmouth
32
Cliff End Fort (Fort Albert)
Commenced
Completed
Cost                  £
Map Reference
Position
Type
Ditch
Guns
Barrack Accom.
Present use
History
Disposal
Condition
Access
Sources
1852 
1856      
SZ 330890  
Isle of Wight / west      
Sea Front     
None - Sea in front   
29       
Private luxury flats (eight)  
Coast defence Brennan torpedo
station
Sold 1965
Damp - sea leaks into basement.
None - can be viewed from cliff
top   
Solent Papers No 2, Precis of
correspondence prior to 1898   
This fort was designed by William Drummond Jervois, later Inspector General of Fortifications. The original intention
was for a semi-circular fort of approximately 41 guns on Warden Ledge but this idea was abandoned because of costs and
unstable ground. The beach at Cliff was chosen for the new fort but shortage of money resulted in the construction of a
small brick fort  for 29 guns in four tiers. The north flank of the fort was ‘refused’ to protect against enfilade. The
basement magazines were prone to flooding from the very start. The original armament was seven 68pr SB on the ground
floor, seven 8-inch shell guns on each of the first and second floors with six 32pr. SBs and two 8-inch howitzers on the
roof. A loopholed roof gallery covered the slopes behind the fort with musketry, the ground being higher than the fort. An
access road wound down to the fort and the entrance was over a wooden gangway into the first floor  via some steps. The
68prs. were replaced by seven 7-inch R.B.L.s  in 1861. The other SB guns were removed after 1972 when it was proposed
to fit 7-inch RMLs. This was not done and the remaining 7-inch RBLs  and SB Howitzers were removed in 1887 when
the fort became redundant as a gun platform, being used instead as an infantry barracks. In 1886-88 a portion of the fort
was converted for use with a Brennan Torpedo installation. A lean-to was added to the north section with a launch ramp
and associated engine room and torpedo handling room. The northern portion of the fort was filled to the roof with sea
sand to protect the installation. The remaining casemates were used for accommodation. Between 1893 and 1899 three
3prs QFs on field carriages were allotted to the fort with three more mounted ‘on cones in permanent emplacements
below Cliff End Fort’. Next in 1898 three 6prs. were proposed to replace the 3prs.  The 3prs appear to have remained
whilst those outside were replaced.  (The 1900 return no longer refers to ‘near Cliff End Fort’ but proposed 2 x 4.7-inch
guns ‘near Cliff End Battery’ which may be the same site.) In 1907 two searchlight emplacements were added to the fort.
In 1909 the fort replaced Freshwater Redoubt as a practice battery for Golden Hill School of Gunnery with four rooftop
12prs. in place until 1915-16. Two rooftop 12prs were again in place in 1925. They were dismantled in 1941 when two
twin 6prs with director towers were added to the roof. The filled casemates were emptied for use as magazines. In 1942 a
searchlight and 40mm bofors were added. The fort has now been modernized and converted into eight luxury flats. The
Brennan installation has been completely removed. 
Armament
History and Description
www.victorianforts.co.uk
Victorian Forts
Original
 
7 x 68pr SB 14 x 8-inch SB 
6 x 32pr. SB 2 x 8-inch How. 
1861 
68prs. replaced with 7 x 7-inch R.B.L.
Withdrawn 1872
 14 x 8-inch SB 6 x 32pr SB 
Proposed
 
7 x 7-inch R.M.L.
1887 
7 x 7-inch & 2 x 8-inch How, removed
1893 - 1898
 
3 x 3pr. QF  3 x 0.45 MG 
3 x 6pr on field carriages. to be added
1902
 
3 x MG parapet c.  3 x MG infantry c.
1903-1909
 
3 x MG pc
1910 
2 x MG        
1922 
2 x 12pr. 12cwt. on QF1
1941
 
2 x twin-six 1942 1 x 40mm bofors

                                
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