Page 14 - Hilsea Lines and Portsbridge
P. 14

Hilsea Lines and Portsbridge                                                                       Solent Papers No.4

         at £38,691 of which £33,091 had been paid to the Preview

          Col. Jervois’ proposal for the Lines dated July 1857, with amendments
          Key to both plans
          1. Western outwork 2. Middle outwork 3. Eastern outwork 4. Fort(s) in the rear of the Lines
          5 - 6 Western extension (later abandoned) 7. Linking line and ditch

         Construction of the second Hilsea Lines               There seems to have been a delay of eighteen months
         Approval for the construction of the new Lines was    before the next contract was let to Messrs Jackson and
         given in January 1858 and one William Piper of        Shaw, dated June 1863, but this was terminated in June
         Stangate St, London SE, was awarded the first contract  the year following, for reasons unknown. An entirely
         on 15th August 1858, for the demolition of the old lines,  new contract was let to Smith, Knight & Co., of Great
         the clearance and levelling of the site and the       George St Westminster, on 11th March 1865. One John
         construction of some of the buildings. A second contract  Edwards was appointed as agent for the Hilsea works by
         was made with Piper in August 1859 for the building of  the company but relations between him and the CRE can
         the casemates and the entrance gateways, which was due  only be described as ‘strained’. Work started on
         for completion in December 1860. Materials were       deepening the channel but the workmen were constantly
         delayed and with the onset of particularly bad weather,  interrupted by flooding. The contractor was supposed to
         the work was not finished until the following March.  carefully deposit the excavated material in layers upon
         Tenders for a third contract were invited and that of  the ramparts, but instead he chose to dump the lot in one
         George Wheeler of East Cowes, Isle of Wight was       mass. Despite complaints from the CRE, Edwards
         accepted on 18th August 1860, for £113,980. On 27th   refused to co-operate and the military authorities seemed
         December 1861, despite efforts by the Commanding      unable to make him comply. To add to the problems,
         Royal Engineer, to keep him solvent, he went into     Smith, Knight & Co. went into liquidation and Edwards
         voluntary liquidation. The completed work was valued  took over the contract himself. The works had still not
                                                               been finished by 1868 and attracted the attention of the
         contractor.                                           press, who sensed a public scandal, observing the
                                                               damage and mess at Hilsea and on Portsdown Hill.

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