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Monday, May 11, 2009

Portsmouth Harbour Defences

Portsmouth Harbour has been heavily fortified since Henry VIII built Southsea Castle and a line of forts and batteries stretches along the esplanade to Eastney. Four sea forts, Spitbank, Horse Sands, No Man's Land and St. Helen's Fort are also located in the Solent between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight and were built after the 1859 Royal Comission of the country's defences. Fort Cumberland and Eastney Forts East and West are located in the far East of Portsmouth, but are not currently open to the public. Nearby Lumps Fort has been converted into a rose garden, but a number of original features remain, including the gun positions. Southsea Castle was also modernised in the 19th Century, with a Counterscarp Gallery being added as well as wing batteries to the East and West. A long casemated barracks and series of batteries was also established in the area around the Round Tower, a 15th Century fortification in the far West of the Harbour, in the area known as Old Portsmouth.

These interesting fortifcations can be easily visited by strolling along the Esplanade.

Spitbank and Horse Sands Forts
No Man's Land and Horse Sands Forts
St Helen's Fort

The Round Tower and Casemates from IOW Ferry
Fort Blockhouse casemates

Half buried caponnier at Lumps Fort

Carnot Wall inside Lumps Fort

Entrance to the 19thC tunnels at Southsea Castle
Passage inside the fort

Passage under the ditch

Counterscarp Gallery
Inside the Caponnier

The Caponnier and Counterscarp Gallery from outside

Looking to the centre of the Castle from a casemate

Gun emplacement on Wing Battery of Southsea Castle

Looking towards the Round Tower

Passage inside linking the casemates

Rails for the guns can been seen on the floor

Embrasure for one of the guns

Looking towards the tower from one of the other casemates

Guns on the lower level
Casemates on the other side of the courtyard

Down on the lower level looking back to the gun rooms
The rear of the above casemate

Long row of casemates, some of which are used for storage

King's Bastion

The Sallyport

Probably magazines for Point Battery

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