Page 2 - Plymouth Datasheets
P. 2

Victorian Forts                                             Plymouth                   1

                                               Crownhill Fort

               Commenced          1862                               Armament
               Completed          1869
               Cost                  £ 76,409                        Constructed for 32 guns
               Map Reference      SX 487/592                         1893
                                                                     7 x 64pr. R.M.L.
               Position           North Eastern Defences             11 x 7-inch R.B.L.
                                                                     14 x 32pr. S.B.B.L.
               Type               Land front, polygonal              movable - 6 x 25pr. R.M.L.
               Ditch              Dry
               Guns               32 on  ramparts, 15 in caponiers
               Barrack Accom. built for 300 men
               Present use        Landmark Trust, some areas
                                  rented out as work units - open to
               History            visitors. WW1 recruitment &        Caponiers          1 double 5 single
                                  transit depot, later HQ Plymouth
               Disposal           Garrison R.E. 1985/6               Counterscarp       None
               Condition          Good, parts still under restoration  galleries
               Access             By arrangement with Landmark
                                  Trust                              Haxo casemates 1 double 4 single
               Sources            Crownhill Fort D.Moore & P. Cobb
                                                                     Moncrieff Pits     2

               History and Description

                Crownhill Fort was constructed, as a result of the 1860 Royal Commission, to occupy the hill from
                which it got its name. It was the key of the North Eastern Defences and was designed for an
                armament of 32 guns on the ramparts, some in Haxo casemates, with 6 mortars in two mortar
                batteries built into the north and north west ramparts. It has the usual polygonal trace of the 1860s
                land forts with  a deep dry ditch cut into the native rock and caponiers at the salients.
                The armament of the fort was revised and updated in in 1875-80 and in 1878-82 the south caponier
                was used to formulate the approved drill for the 32pr. S.B.B.L. guns. In 1881 the fort was chosen by
                the Lieut General of Artillery and Stores to be fully armed, with its peace armaments complete, as a
                typical land fort, together with Southwick Fort at Portsmouth.
                The fort was used during WW1 as a recruitment and transit depot for troops en-route to their Turkish
                and African Fronts. Later during the inter-war years it was first a de-mobilisation depot, and after
                that a base for the (then) new Corps of Royal Signals, a barrack for the 2nd. battalion the Royal
                Devonshire Regiment, until WW2 when, after Dunkirk it was converted into a strong point in the
                ‘Plymouth Outer Ring Defences’.
                During the 1950s under ‘Operation Rotor’ it had a Gun Operations Room (G.O.R.), built for AA
                Command, on the parade ground which incorporated part of the Officers barrack. Latterly it was the
                H.Q. for Plymouth Garrison and the H.Q. of the Commando Support Squadron R.E. and despatched
                647 troops and 1,897 tonnes of War material during the 1982 war. It was released 1985/6 and
                acquired by the Landmark Trust, who are actively conserving and restoring it.

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