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Thursday, April 12, 2007
Shornemead Fort, Gravesend
This fort was one of a number built to protect the Thames Estuary in the late 19th Century, after the Royal Commission of the country's defences, although it is built of the site of an earlier battery. It is a similar design to the nearby Coalhouse and Cliffe forts, consisting of large, granite faced casemates with magazines directly beneath and a parade ground and barrack block at the rear. The casemates housed 11-inch Rifled Muzzle Loading guns, but the fort was later armed with Breech loaders and Quick Firing guns. Guns were also mounted at the fort during WW2. Unfortunately, much of the fort, including the barrack block, was demolished in the 1960s, and only the fronts of the casemates and underground passages and magazines remain.
The fort is on open land and can be visited. In the last few years, the site has been landscaped and interpretation boards installed, although the entrances to the tunnels were also buried at this time.
Plan, courtesy of the Palmerston Forts Society View of the fort from the remains of the barrack block
Exterior view of the fort
Close up of gun port facing the Thames
Inside the fort, looking East along the remains of the casemates
Remains of one of the casemates
Remains of WW2 observation tower above the casemates
The thickness of the brickwork can be clearly seen here
WW2 structure above the casemates
Remains of the Western end of the fort
Entrance to the magazines Looking through a lamp position into a magazine Inside another magazine