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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Fort Luton, Chatham

Fort Luton was built in the late 19th Century after the Royal Commission of the country's fortifications in 1859.  It is typical of forts of this era, in that is formed as an earthwork island within a surrounding dry ditch. Also typical is the row of covered casemates, which forms the barrack accommodation and stores.  Two tunnels at either end of the casemates lead to a sunken area in the centre of the fort. Up on the rampart of the fort, the lack of any fixed gun positions is unusual and there are no apparent records of the fort's armament.  There is also a lack of any flanking defences in the ditch, but this is a small fort, similar in style to the mobilisation centres which surround London, that also lack these features. The fort's counterscarp was used for countermine tunnelling training in the early 20th Century, which resulted in considerable damage. The ditch has also been partially filled with rubbish over the years.  The fort itself was opened to the public in the 1990s, after being bought privately, and ran as a model museum.  After closing in the early 2000s, it remained sealed with no access, but thankfully over the last few years, a group of volunteers have been working to restore the fort.  It now houses a military museum, and holds public open days.