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Report - Fort Gilkicker, Gosport, Hampshire - May 2015

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Bertrina Bollockbrains, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. Bertrina Bollockbrains

    Bertrina Bollockbrains 28DL Full Member
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    Yet again the day started badly. Woke up feeling exhausted having been kept awake by Bertie's constant farting throughout the night. A quick shower I thought would do me good. Whilst soaping myself up it felt as if I was scrubbing a wire brush over my skin. That useless man called my hubby had only left his pubes stuck to the soap bar. Sometimes I wonder if I married a Neanderthal caveman. So once again it was domestic time, and with much shouting and throwing of dinner plates across the room I just had to get in the car and escape.

    So that's how I arrived at Fort Gilkicker in the county of Hampshire just one of many Palmerston forts that protected the Solent.

    History

    The Palmerston forts are a group of forts built around the coastline of Britain, with many concentrated around the Portsmouth / Solent area. The forts were built during the Victorian period on the recommendations of the 1860 Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom following concerns about the strength of the French Navy. The name comes from their association with Lord Palmerston, who was Prime Minister at the time and promoted the idea.

    They were criticized because by the time they were completed, any threat had passed, largely due to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and because the technology of the guns had become out-of-date. They were the most costly and extensive system of fixed defences undertaken in Britain in peacetime and often referred to as Palmerston's Follies.

    Fort Gilkicker was erected between 1863 and 1871 as a semi-circular arc with 22 casemates, to be armed with five 12" guns, seventeen 10" guns and five 9" guns (the 5 largest guns being in the open on the roof). Its purpose was to defend the deep water anchorage at Spithead and to protect the western approach to Portsmouth harbour. The estimated cost of Fort Gilkicker in 1869 was £61,395, the actual cost on completion being £58,766.

    [​IMG]

    Each of the twenty two gun casemates on the main gun floor consists of a brick vaulted chamber behind a granite face fourteen feet thick. Each gun fired though an armoured embrasure with a shield hung on a massive shield frame. To the rear of each gun casemate is the barrack room for the gun crew with space for folding barrack room beds and a fireplace. The barrack rooms open on to a verandah, or walkway, that connects all of the barrack rooms. Beneath the gun casemates are a series of magazines appropriated for shells and cartridges. Vertical lifts from the shell and cartridge passages open onto each gun casemate allowing efficient supply of ammunition for the guns.

    The rear, or gorge, of the fort is closed by a two storey barrack block that was originally occupied by the officers. It included Officer’s bedrooms, the officers’ mess with kitchen and pantry, a field officer’s quarters, and officer’s servant’s quarters. At each end was an artillery store. At the western end was the laboratory for filling shells and cartridges.

    An earth embankment was built around the front of the fort in 1902-6 to provide protection to the masonry of the fort from improved naval weaponry. The fort was used in World War II as a communications centre for D-Day preparations and was finally declared surplus for defence purposes in 1956

    The fort is currently awaiting development into modern apartments. Here is the plan:

    [​IMG]

    Whether that will happen is of course another matter.

    The Explore:

    Entry is straightforward and to be honest it seemed as if half of Gosport were wandering around inside.
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    [​IMG]

    I made my way to the parade ground
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    I started with the officer's accomodation block
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    Which was rather homely inside
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    [​IMG]

    Making my way to the front of the fort, I found the veranda linking each of casemates. Each casemate had beautiful vaulted ceilings
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    [​IMG]

    and here we see the fireplace at the rear of the casement where the soldiers would had slept
    [​IMG]

    Climbing downstairs, I found the armouries with a long curved narrow passage
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    and several ammunition lifts to the casements above
    [​IMG]

    And that ended the explore, it was time to return home and feed that caveman called hubby. Bertie if you reading this, when we do get to the divorce court you can keep that strange blow up doll thingy you keep under the bed as well as the fridge. I'm taking the house though.

    Thanks for reading
     
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  2. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator
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    In the relative terms the building cost of £58,766 in 1871 is £91,890,000.00 in todays money!


    Much more than your house Bertrina :rolleyes:
     
  3. Bertrina Bollockbrains

    Bertrina Bollockbrains 28DL Full Member
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    Well the Palmerston forts were a source of great debate at the time of construction for being a colossal waste of money. Multiply that figure above by the number of Palmerston Forts (possibly a couple of hundred) and you get a seriously big figure. This is wasting taxpayers money on the same sort of scale as the Olympic Games or bailing out corrupt banks.

    I found this table of construction costs for the Palmerston Forts on Wikipedia:

    Area Cost in Pounds

    Plymouth 3,020,000
    Portsmouth 2,800,000
    Pembroke 765,000
    Portland 630,000
    Thames 180,000
    Medway 450,000
    Chatham 1,350,000
    Woolwich 700,000
    Dover 335,000
    Cork 120.000
    Total 10,350,000

    And remember this is 1860s/1870s pounds, not todays pounds. Using the same ratio that Ordnance used in the above post - that table totals 16.2 billion in today's pounds. William Gladstone who was Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time had a major fallout with his boss Lord Palmerston and resigned on the matter
     
  4. swindonianexplorer

    swindonianexplorer 28DL Full Member
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    This place looks so cool.is it still here and easy to access ? Can you give directions on what sort of area it is in from swindon by train please ?
     
  5. Bertie Bollockbrains

    Bertie Bollockbrains 28DL Regular User
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    Well considering that there is a Google Earth screenshot up there with the longitude and latitude shown, and that the report is dated May 2015 and that the report states that "entry is straightforward", I would had thought that there is more than enough information already given to work it all out.

    Gosport doesn't have a train station, the nearest one being in Portsmouth. Then you would need to jump on the passenger ferry across Portsmouth harbour, and then a 2 mile mile walk to Gilkicker Point
     
  6. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Cool stuff, I wouldn't mind one of those apartments :thumb
     
  7. AnonymousBiscuit

    AnonymousBiscuit 28DL Full Member
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    I go there all the time with my friends, there was a fire there a few weeks ago, someone burned down the security guard hut! It looks awesome now though
     
  8. gregorious77

    gregorious77 28DL Full Member
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    It was gonna happen sooner or later and now its school holidays they will most likely secure it before someone gets hurt (or after).
     
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  9. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Nice report and so much better than that awful BertieBollockFace, keep up the good work!
     
  10. The Shepshed Diamondback

    The Shepshed Diamondback Slithering down a drain near you
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    nice looking place that, good report.
     
  11. AnonymousBiscuit

    AnonymousBiscuit 28DL Full Member
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    I go there lots and theres usually another group of kids. I don't see why it's only now that they're keeping a close eye.
     
  12. Bertie Bollockbrains

    Bertie Bollockbrains 28DL Regular User
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    Hey are you flirting with my wife?
     
  13. ButteryFreshMash

    ButteryFreshMash 28DL Member
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    Is it still possible to access this place?
     
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