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Report - - Fort Clarence Centre Blockhouse (AKA Eagle Caves) - January 18 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Fort Clarence Centre Blockhouse (AKA Eagle Caves) - January 18


Kidney

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Pretty limited information on this part of Fort Clarence or of its use so I will give a brief history of the Fort Clarence site itself. If anybody has a more detailed history of the use of the centre blockhouse it would be very much appreciated!

Clarence was built between 1808 and 1812 to prevent Mr Bonaparte and his merry men from gaining access to the River Medway from Maidstone road; it was deemed obsolete by the time it was finally completed. The site comprised of a long brick dry ditch running between a guardroom on Maidstone road and a tower alongside the river Medway (both long since gone).Clarence tower itself is a large red brick keep used as an observation post and gun tower. Post 1815 it was used for various things including a military prison and a Loony bin. During WW1 Clarence was used as a recruiting centre and then by the home guard during WW2. After this the fort became derelict until the GPO moved in during the 1960's. As per the norm during this decade of heritage crime they promptly demolished most of the barracks and filled in a large part of the dry ditch.

The remains of the site and Clarence Tower was passed from EH control to developers in the late 90s, the tower was converted into luxury digs with a river view of the cinema and Mcdonalds and the rest of the site became shite prefabbed red brick houses. The centre blockhouse itself sat on a corner of the ditch predominantly underground; it is brick lined with a vaulted roof and a sally port on the south side. The interior comprises of two main halls, a few rooms on two levels and connecting tunnels. Nice mix here of Victorian arches and Napoleonic parabolic arches complete with some pretty decent gun loops. You can't beat a bit of brick porn!

On with the explore; although entry is simple it took a bit of planning and a failed recce attempt to get in here. The locals know what's beneath their feet and aren't very welcoming to visitors, previous visits by forum members have had the blue light welcome party greet them on the way out. Our first planned visit had to be postponed due to the police discovering a weed farm in the main tunnels and a subsequent visit was scuppered by an irate pensioner reading us the riot act from her bathroom window (I'm still wondering if she was talking to us whilst pinching off a log). Eventually we got a solid plan together, downed a few beers and got it done. It's not huge but is a very unique explore, if you ever see this thread Mrs Old Lady....up yours!!!:)

On with the holiday snaps!

One of two main halls, used to be two separate floors until the first floor decided it didn't like being where it was.


The room of blue, complete with fireplace and luxury bed (bedsheets not included in the price).


An interesting indoor rockery complete with ladder so you can view your splendid indoor garden feature from above.


Another indoor rockery located in the summer house, this one comes with two kegs of K Cider


Unsure where these doors would of been located originally.


Once an entrance, an intruder would of come down here round the corner and been met by fire from the gun loops. Would of stung a little!


Indoor gate, everyone needs an indoor gate.


Lovely gun loops round the corner from the entrance.


What looks like a mix of Victorian and Napoleonic architecture.


Everyone needs a railing shot.


Urbex tilt or too many beers, you decide!
 

exploraholic

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Thanks for sharing a great report. I used to live in Rochester and the Fort has always been of interest to me. The archicolgical survey carried out before the renovation of the tower has very little info on this section of tunnels and as for pictures I've never come across any before today only peoples historical accounts.
 

TheTimeChamber

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Looks great, very much like the North Casemates in Dover. Sounds like a bit of an adventure getting in
 

Kidney

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Blimey another report mate :D
I actually forgot I posted this! Wish I could post more but not been out much at all really this year. Little one and getting the house sorted is taking up pretty much most of my time. Hoping normal service will resume shortly, reckon my camera has seized up :p


Looks great, very much like the North Casemates in Dover. Sounds like a bit of an adventure getting in
It's actually really easy, it's just the location of the entrance and the timing. Just need your whole group knowing what the entrance procedure is as you can't hang around for too long, working in shifts is a must....unless you have PPE and a back story it would appear :oops:
 

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