Page 8 - Bristol Defences
P. 8

Victorian Forts                                             Portsmouth                       32

                                 Cliff End Fort (Fort Albert)

          Commenced            1852                                 Armament
          Completed            1856                                 Original   7 x 68pr SB 14 x 8-inch SB
          Cost                  £                                              6 x 32pr. SB 2 x 8-inch How.
          Map Reference        SZ 330890                            1861       68prs. replaced with 7 x 7-inch R.B.L.
                                                                    Withdrawn 1872 14 x 8-inch SB 6 x 32pr SB
          Position             Isle of Wight / west                 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
          Type                 Sea Front                                       3 x 6pr on field carriages. to be added
          Ditch                None - Sea in front                  1902       3 x MG parapet c.  3 x MG infantry c.
                                                                               3 x MG pc
          Guns                 29                                   1910       2 x MG
          Barrack Accom.                                            1922       2 x 12pr. 12cwt. on QF1
          Present use          Private luxury flats (eight)         1941       2 x twin-six 1942 1 x 40mm bofors

          History              Coast defence Brennan torpedo
          Disposal             Sold 1965
          Condition            Damp - sea leaks into basement.
          Access               None - can be viewed from cliff
          Sources              Solent Papers No 2, Precis of
                               correspondence prior to 1898

          History and Description

           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.

   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13