Page 22 - Portsmouth.dpd
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Victorian Forts                                                 Portsmouth                   49

                                      Long Curtain Battery*

          Commenced            1600s                                Armament
          Cost                  £                                   1884    3 x 64pr RML
                                                                            5 x 80pr RML
          Map Reference        SZ633992                                     1  x 7-inch  RBL
          Position             Entrance to Portsmouth Harbour               6 x 9pr RML §
                                                                            6 x 6pr QF
          Type                 Sea Battery                                  2 x 12pr QF
          Ditch                Wet, to front only                   1891    2 x 80pr RML
                                                                            4 x 6pr QF
          Guns                                                      1898    7 x 9pr RML §
          Barrack Accom. Only crew shelters                                 4 x 6pr QF
          Present use          Open site/View point                         2  x 12pr QF
                                                                    1913    4 x 12pr QF
          History              Town wall and harbour mouth          1922    11 x  5-inch BL
                                                                            on VCP mk II carriages,
                               defences since 1660s                         1 x 12pr B.L. on field carriage §
          Disposal             1958                                 WW2   1 x Twin 6pr QF
          Condition            Partially buried & demolished
          Access               All year round                       Note: § indicates guns for saluting purposes.

          Sources              Portsmouth City Records Office.

          History and Description                      *The definition of Long Curtain Battery in this description refers to the batteries located in the Long Curtain area,
                                                       namely Kings Bastion, Spur Redoubt, Long Curtain and Old Saluting Battery.

           These batteries are located on the parts of the old defence’s of Portsmouth which were designed by de Gomme during the later half of
           the seventeenth century. The Portsmouth defence’s designed by de Gomme, consisted of a bastioned trace with a ditch and rampart
           profile. The ditch was flooded with sea water which entered through sluices located at the extreme end of Long Curtain. By the mid
           nineteenth century, whilst the old bastioned defence’s of Portsmouth and near-by Portsea where in a very poor state, the Long Curtain
           batteries were upgraded and rearmed because of their commanding position over the shipping channel running up to the entrance of
           Portsmouth Harbour. To the rear of the Long Curtain is an area known as Governors Green, which was the headquarters of the 2nd.
           Hants. Artillery Volunteers.
           By 1891 there were emplacements for two 80pr RMLs and four 6pr QF guns. One of the old gun emplacements was converted into an
           observation cell for a submarine minefield. The observation cell, together with a engine house and test room (located to the rear), would
           have been used to electrically trigger moored submarine mines located in the entrance channel to Portsmouth Harbour.

           By the late 1890’s the submarine minefield was declared obsolete and the armament of long curtain was upgraded with the removal of
           the RML emplacements and the installation of more Q.F. guns bringing the armament to four  12pr QFs and  two 6pr QFs. Cartridge
           and shell stores for 1,000 rounds in each were added to the rear of the battery. The emplacements and magazines were designed to
           ultimately mount 4-inch Q.F. guns, but these were never installed. The old Submarine Mining Engine Room and Test Room where
           demolished and crew shelters were built in their place. Two blocks of crew shelters were built to the rear of Long Curtain, one for 30
           men and 1 officer the other for 35 men; a third block was built to the rear of the Old Saluting Battery for 16 men. These crew shelters
           consisted of simple rooms which allowed hammocks to be strung between pairs of hooks. By 1913 only the four 12pr Q.F.s remained in
           place. In 1916 this was reduced to two which by 1919 were mounted in reserve.

           In 1922 Long Curtain was armed with four 12pr QFs once more, in care and maintenance.  Another return for  1922 shows Long
           Curtain mounting eleven 5-inch BL guns installed on Vavasseur carriages and one 12pr BL  VI on a field carriage.These guns were
           used for saluting purposes and sounding the evening gun at sunset. This ceased when the saluting battery was moved across to Fort
           Blockhouse, on the Gosport side of the Harbour entrance in the 1930’s. The final upgrade of the defences to Long Curtain took place in
           the late 1930’s, when the pair of 12pr QF emplacements were modified into a single emplacement for a Twin 6pr QF gun. Today, many
           of the gun emplacements have been buried or demolished. Little remains of the battery except for a few concrete emplacements for the
           QF guns.

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