Page 8 - Bristol Defences
P. 8

Victorian Forts                                             Portsmouth                       21

                                                Lumps Fort

          Commenced            1859                                 Armament
          Completed            1861
          Cost                  £ 1,8945                            1885    3  x   7-inch R.B.L.  1  x  7-inch R.M.L.
                                                                         9  x 64-pdr R.M.L. 1  x 40-pdr R.B.L.
          Map Reference        SZ 657984                            1893    2 x 6-inch BL H.P.
          Position             Portsmouth Sea Front / Southsea           1 x 7-inch RBL  6 x 64pr 58cwt RML
                                                                    (1 x 7-inch & 2 x 64pr RML for  drill & practice only)

          Type                 Coast Battery/beach defence          1898  2 x Machine Guns added
          Ditch                Dry. Could not hold water.           1902  2 x 5-inch BL Volunteer practice battery outside
                                                                         fort. 3 x 6-inch B.L.
          Guns                 17 reduced to 16                     1906 disarmed
          Barrack Accom. 1860 - 40 then  1890 - 32                  1914 6pr Hotchkiss  beach defence
          Present use          Public Rose Garden / model village
                               / gardeners workshop
          History              Volunteer practice battery nearby    Caponiers           3 (musketry only)
                               Electric Lights
          Disposal             Sold in 1932 to Portsmouth Council   Counterscarp        None
          Condition            Recognisable / partly filled         galleries
          Access               Gardens all year round
                                                                    Haxo casemates None
                                                                    Moncrieff Pits      None (3 x H.P.)

          History and Description

           The  first fort to occupy the Lumps site was in existence in 1545 and was  built as a redoubt to prevent a beach landing to the south of
           Southsea Castle. During the Napoleonic Wars Lumps Fort was in use once more. In 1857 Jervois proposed to occupy ‘again the ground
           at Lumps Fort and at Eastney, between Southsea Castle and Fort Cumberland.’ The two batteries nearest Southsea Castle, one of which
           was Lumps Fort, were to act as keeps to guns placed at intervals along the shore between them. They were to be for nine guns each,
           with accommodation under the terre-plein for 100 men, provided with full revetments, 27 feet high, flanked by small caponieres, and
           covered by an earthen glacis to the front.  Each fort was to be surrounded by a ditch and rampart. Reconstruction began in November
           1859 and was completed in October 1861. The fort was armed with seventeen guns, nine on its sea face, commanding the entrance to
           the channel leading into Portsmouth Harbour, and four each on its east and west flanks.  Fourteen of these guns were constructed so as
           to fire through embrasures on the parapet and the other three were pivot guns, on circular bastions or cavaliers, on the salient angles of
           the front of the work. These three guns were placed to sweep the flank and the front of the work. They were well placed to “dominate
           the whole of the work”. The rear of the work was undefended by artillery, being closed from each flank by an earthen parapet, with a
           brick wall, pierced or loopholed for rifle fire, as well as some officers’ and mens’ quarters, and the entrance gate. The fort was
           surrounded by a wet ditch of considerable depth and breadth on its sea front. The landward side was less deep and less broad. The
           entrance to the fort was over a drawbridge, the rolling part of which was only four paces wide. At this point the whole width of the
           ditch was only sixteen paces. The front of the fort had three caponiers flanking the ditch, one at each angle, and the front was also
           covered by an earthen glacis which extended to within a short distance of the high water mark. The ditch was not revetted and the
           bottom was  of loose sand and shingle and it was reported to be unlikely to maintain its angle for any length of time. It was the intention
           of the engineers to counteract the defect in the original design of the fort by building a sea wall right in front of the fort, thereby
           resisting the action of the sea.  The 1869 report stated that Lumps Fort was “..well constructed... well adapted to its object - that of
           preventing a landing between Eastney and Southsea Castle.” The report stated that the fort had 14 guns in embrasures, and three
           en-barbette. It was then armed with 68 pounders, 8-inch guns, and breech loading 7-inch rifled guns. The ditch surrounding it was
           designed to be filled with water, but the report noted that it would not retain water and it was  ... “an imperfect obstacle to an assaulting
           party, and although protected by the flanking fire of three caponieres, some measure seems to be necessary to improve it, which might
           however be deferred till a time of expected attack.” In 1891  Lumps Fort was armed with two 6-inch B.L.guns on H.P. disappearing
           carriages. (there are pits for three).  These were removed in 1906. As early as August 1914 the Tyne Electrical Engineers set up the first
           AA searchlight in the Portsmouth defences, at Lumps Fort. The fort was re-armed in 1914 as a beach defence battery with a 6-pounder
           Hotchkiss anti-aircraft gun. At the end of the World War One the fort was abandoned and was purchased by Portsmouth Council in
           1932. It is now occupied by a Rose Garden, which is open to the public and a model village which is - pay to enter.

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