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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                                                                     Withdrawn 1872 14 x 8-inch SB 6 x 32pr SB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.

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