Page 14 - Medway Forts
P. 14

Victorian Forts                                             Medway                           6

                                               Grain Tower

          Commenced            1847                                 Armament
          Completed            November 1855
          Cost                  £ 16,798                            1855
          Map Reference        TQ 898 760                           Proposed 3 x RML guns
          Position             Mouth of River Medway on Grain Spit   1 x 56pr, 2 x 32 pr S.B.
                                                                    1884  3 x 68pr. S.B.

          Type                 Sea Tower (Grain Martello)           1895 nil
          Ditch                                                     1912-1929 2 x 4.7-inch Q.F.
          Guns                 3                                    1941 1 x Twin-six-pounder
          Barrack Accom. 30 men within tower
          Present use

                                                                    Caponiers           None
          History              Signal Station
                               Re-armed both wars
          Disposal             Abandoned by Military 1946           Counterscarp        None
          Condition            Reasonable                           galleries
          Access               Yes but private property
                               ‘Coast Defences of England and Wales’ Hogg,  ‘The  Haxo casemates None
                               Isle of Grain Defences’ Macdougall K.D.R.G.  J.D.
          Sources              Wilson ‘Later Nineteenth century defences of the
                               Thames, including Grain Fort’  WO 192/49  Moncrieff Pits  None

          History and Description

           Grain Tower was built in the Medway Channel opposite Garrison Point on Grain Spit as a supplement to the guns at
           Garrison Point. and to prevent a landing on the island. The foundations were commenced in 1847 when two hundred and
           forty five timber piles were laid down and covered with six foot of cement. The Tower itself is oval shaped, built of
           granite. The average thickness of the solid masonry is 12 feet. The outer dimensions are 63 feet by 71 feet, underneath is
           a barrack room capable of accommodating 30 gunners, and an officers private room.
           The basement story contains the following rooms; viz, ordnance store, provision store, barrack store, regimental store and
           magazine,  the latter being encased with an entire coat of asphalte.
           The whole of this basement is lined with nine-inch brickwork, all being within a 12-feet wall of masonry. Embrasures cut
           into the tower were for a 56pr. to rake the Nore whilst a 32pr. swept the sea in front of Sheerness and another 32pr.
           covered the northern channel. It was examined by the Royal Commission and a proposal was made to rebuild it as a
           casemated work. This was never done. It was struck from the estimates.
           From 1892 until the abolition of Submarine Mining it was used as a Submarine Mining Station with test room on Barrack
           Floor and two observing stations on the roof.  In 1895 no armament was mounted. In an article concerning the 2nd.
           Volunteer Middlesex Artillery dated 1897 it is stated that “the tower was originally fortified but is not now considered of
           any value as a means of defence”.

           Towards the end of the century it was proposed to mount two 12pr. Q.F. guns but this does not appear to have been done.
           However in 1912 two 4.7-inch Q.F. guns were installed, having been moved from Grain Wing Battery. This
           re-disposition was presumably for the better defence of the Medway Boom and minefield. At this time numerous
           buildings were added to the tower. The guns were withdrawn in 1929  and the Tower reverted to communications use.
           During WWII, in 1941 a Twin-six-pounder QF was mounted on the roof to counter the threat from ‘E’ boats.  The Tower
           was finally abandoned in 1946 and reverted to the role of signal station, a role which it had intermittently since 1910.

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