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Report - Cliffe Fort, Kent - August 2013

Vii Sins

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
Very pleased to have the opportunity to get into this, one more to cross off my wish list. Sadly didn't have any waders, so the ground floor was ruled out.

Cliffe Fort is one of the Palmerston forts, also known as Palmerston's follies, built in the 1860's to defend against potential waterborne attacks. It was extremely expensive to build, prone to flooding due to the marshland it is built on and more or less obsolete before completion due to rapidly developing arms technology.
It was armed with 12.5" 38ton and 11" 25ton muzzle loading guns. In 1890 it was also armed with a Brennan wire guided torpedo operated from a retractable conning tower and launched down a slipway, the first guided weapons system, but again technological advances made this obsolete by 1910 and it was replaced by quick firing guns.
Gun batteries were added to the roof in WW1 and in WW2 it served as an anti aircraft battery.

Situated on a bank of the Thames in a very active quarry and next to a sailing club it is slowly succumbing to nature.

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Gun casemate

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The original doorway has been backfilled to prevent access

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The waterlogged interior showing the rear arches of the gun casemates.

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Bricked in casemate

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Gun casemate

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Gun casemates

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Underside of the Brennan torpedo operators conning tower

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Where the conning tower would have emerged. When the torpedo became obsolete it was filled and converted with a light machine gun mount.

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First World War Battery Observation Post built onto the roof

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Gun holdfasts

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Ammunition locker

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Aircraft spotters post on the roof

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Evidence of other visitors

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A little further along the river stands this. I'm not sure what it is, though it looks to date from the same period. Any ideas?
 
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