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Google Map of Horse Sand Fort The Solent UK

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It was decided in 1860 to build a series of five forts in the Solent to guard the Spithead anchorage and the inner approaches to Portsmouth Harbour. The original size of the forts was to be a vast 300ft in diameter. After much deliberation it was decided that only four forts Horse Sands, Spitbank, No Manís Land and St. Helens would be built at a reduced size of 240ft in diameter. Work commenced in 1861 but by April 1862 it had been suspended by the Secretary of State for War due to events happening during the naval battle of Hampton Road in the American Civil War which questioned the suitability of the forts as a sea protection. The slow process of building the forts recommenced in March 1864 with the first stone being set at a depth of 17ft below the low Spring Tide level and was finally completed in March 1880. Horse Sand Fort was built on a ring of masonary comprising of large concrete blocks with an outer skin of granite blocks, the interior being filled with clay and shingle and covered with a thick layer of concrete. The lower foundation walls of fort are 59ft thick. The fort is split into 3 levels with top measuring 204ft 9Ē in diameter. The floors would have originally provided storage of armoury and guns and the things needed to sustain the men that were stationed on site. The top of the fort consisted of a lighthouse and various chimneys and ventilators. The fort has its own Artesian well which provided fresh water. The seaward side of the fort was covered in a heavy iron armoured plating to protect it from sea borne attack. Access to the fort was via a wooden decked landing stage supported on cast iron piles. The fort was manned during both the First and Second World Wars and it was during the First World War that the guns turrets and search lights were added. After the war the fort was de-activated although it was still used as a navigation point for shipping in the Solent.


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