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Report - Portland Outer Breakwater Fort, Portand Dorset - August 2011

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Kinger, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Kinger

    Kinger 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

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    Kinger,
    Montstar,
    Markymark.


    This was initially going to be posted into the non-public area, but its location means that it will never become a UE tourist hotspot!
    Being 2 miles from the nearest land, and only accessible by boat, meant this explore took some planning to finally pull off.

    The History;

    The Breakwater was built with 6 million tonnes of Portland Stone and used the backbreaking labour of thousands of prison convicts to defend the ships of the world's greatest navy.

    The Breakwater Fort is the largest of several forts built at the outer edge of Portland Harbour and is the most imposing with iron armor 20 inches thick - it took 25 years to build.

    Thirty men would have been stationed on the fort at any one time, sheltered by the bomb proof iron roof and walls, and armed with the 38-tonne guns which were fed with ammunition stored deep inside the fort.

    The 120 foot diameter circular fort was planned in 1859 and was to be built of stone on a stone rubble base and equipped with 35 guns.
    By 1868 the design had to be totally changed due to subsidence and instead it was rebuilt in the early 1870's with steel armour plating on a concrete base.
    The seven 12.5 inch Rifled Muzzle Launched (RML) guns were not installed until 1892 and were replaced by 2 modern six inch Breech Loading (BL) guns on its roof in 1907.

    Its a location we've been looking at since we were kids growing up on the island, and started seriously planning a visit about 3 years ago.
    Just over 2 years ago, I was fortunate enough to be serving on a ship that passed through the entrance in question, so after I'd ran back to my cabin to grab my camera, I took a few shots that not only whetted our appetite but proved invaluable for the planning as well:

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    For many reasons, offers of borrowing a boat always seemed to fall through once we'd mentioned our destination. So this weekend when a window opened up, we seized our chance with everything we had.

    This location has not been featured on any UE website to date, and is one of those extremely rare places free of damage from the public, pikeys, chavs etc.
    In some places it looked like the war had stopped and the place was abandoned yesterday. In the more exposed locations the elements have taken their toll. Metal has been turned to dust, and the stalactites are slowing forming.

    Here's my pictures from an incredible day, that allowed us to explore a place we'd waited to visit for decades.

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    Nothing prepared us for the beauty of the inside of the fort. An 8 sided, symetrical central atrium, at the bottom of the gorgeous sprial staircase.
    The atrium fed off into the gun chambers, and stone staircases led down into the ammunition stores.

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    Down in the belly of the fort, it is amazingly well preserved.
    It houses three 360 degree circular passages, each a smaller radius than the last.
    Doors to smaller rooms exit the passages left and right. The lettering on the doors is immaculate, and you could have been fooled into thinking it had been restored.

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    In the very centre, at the lowest level we found the “Engine Room”. This was the most stripped of all the rooms, and only the rusted shell of the boiler remained.

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    CONTINUED ON NEXT REPLY​
     

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    #1 Kinger, Aug 24, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2014

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