Page 26 - Plymouth Datasheets
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Victorian Forts                                             Plymouth                   12

                                                  Bowden Fort

               Commenced          1863 (contractor failed 1866)      Armament
               Completed          by engineers 1868/69               1875
               Cost                  £ 15,891                        proposed   8 x 7-inch RBL
               Map Reference      SX497583                                      4 x 8-inch How.
               Position           North East Defences, Right Flank              2 x SB flank guns.
               Type               Land Front, polygonal              mounted    7 x 7-inch RBL
               Ditch              Dry                                1893       2 x 7-inch RBL
               Guns               12 guns 3 mortars                             4 x 64pr. RML
               Barrack Accom. 16                                     required   1 x 7-inch RBL
               Present use        Garden Centre, gorge ditch a car
                                  park                               Caponiers          1 flanking gallery
                                                                     Counterscarp       1
               Disposal           1963                               galleries
               Condition          Altered to modern usage.
               Access             When the garden centre is open     Haxo casemates None
                                  1868 report : Precis of Correspondence relating to
                                  the Defences of Plymouth 1893. Historic Defences
               Sources            of Plymouth by A. Pye and F. Woodward  Moncrieff Pits  None

               History and Description

                Bowden Fort (or Battery) was constructed so that its western face flanked the valley towards the rear
                of Crown Hill and its Eastern face commanded the face of Forder battery. It was to mount 12 guns in
                open battery with three mortars. It stood 345 feet above sea level. The ditch is excavated from rock
                and is flanked at the salients by musketry galleries; the escarps and counterscarps are formed at a
                slope of one-half to one. The gorge is closed by a wall 22 feet high, flanked by a defensible guard
                room, on two levels, containing bomb-proof barrack roms for 16 men. Ample magazine
                accommodation was provided.

                On the ramparts four expense magazines were constructed underneath traverses. The site has been
                re-used as a garden centre but the E and NE ramparts survive almost intact, the 64pdr RML positions
                are recognisable. The two musketry galleries are buried to roof level and the access tunnels to them
                are blocked. The main entrance was through the gorge wall to the west of the guard house. The lower
                level of the guard house has been buried and the gorge ditch is now a car park.  The ramparts are
                overgrown and the NW section has been levelled. The west mortar battery has been filled in, the area
                now occupied by greenhouses. The other mortar battery at the north east salient is intact.

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