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Report - - Fort Clarence West Casemates - February 2021 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Fort Clarence West Casemates - February 2021


Kidney

Weirdy Beardy
28DL Full Member
Another part of a puzzle complete. This section of the Fort Clarence tunnel network compliments my visit to the East Casemates in 2018 which I had incorrectly titled "Centre Blockhouse". A little confusion on my part as the East casemates appear to be a standalone structure but is clearly part of the east dry ditch. Sometimes it's difficult to get your bearings when everything is buried!

Brief History

Built to defend Rochester from land attack and prevent a river-borne landing; Fort Clarence was essentially a length of fortified ditch with a tower at the centre built between 1808 and 1812. At each end of the ditch on the Eastern and Western ends were the Medway Tower and Maidstone road guard house respectively (both long since demolished). The Fort Clarence tower itself had extensive magazines and tunnels connecting it with other part of the fortification. Where Borstal Road runs through the ditch a wooden swing bridge and large brick archway with a blockhouse to defend it, this was demolished in 1924 for the widening of the road. As with many structures of its day, the fortifications were considered obsolete before they were even completed, weaponry and tactics were advancing scarily rapidly. The tower itself was armed with Twelve 12-pounder cannons and six 18-pounder carronades., they weren't messing about, the magazine had a capacity for around 5000 barrels of gun powder. By early 1819 Clarence was requisitioned as Naval Lunatic Asylum and Hospital. In 1845 it was repurposed again as a military prison and it was at this time additional buildings were added (chapel, cell block etc.). In the early 1930's the fort ceased to be a prison and was occupied by the TA who manned the AA guns at nearby Fort Borstal. Following the outbreak of WW2, the Home Guard moved in and Clarence was used as a HQ training centre. During this time the prison cell block was converted into an ammo store.
Following the war Clarence lay empty until the Post Office moved in, in the early 1960's, as often during this decade of heritage crime, much of the site was demolished for their engineering works. Following the GPO's departure, the site once again lay vacant until it was converted into posh apartments, which it remains today. The centre magazine and associated tunnels have also been converted but the East and West Casemates have remained abandoned. Clarence was to be supplied during at an attack by means of a Sallyport on the Western side. This report covers tunnels leading from the Sallypart up to the Fort itself.

The Explore

We had planned to attempt East and West casemates a while before the actual visit and had been gearing up towards this. We soon aborted to play the long game after it was discovered some scallywags had bought a flat for the sole purpose of setting up the casemate tunnels as a sophisticated cannabis farm. These guys knew how to do a grow and was a very professional set up. Many over the years have attempted the Sally-Port as a means of entry however a group of associates had worked out an alternate method for entry and set about like little moles. A pretty standard explore this and nothing too exciting to report. On with the photo's.

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Fort Clarence tower as it stands today.

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Bridge and blockhouse across Borstal road.

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Plan of Fort Clarence fortification overworks.

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Sallyport end of network on the lower floor, now a fully kitted out grow room. All artefacts have been piled up to make room for more of the herb.

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Sallyport end of network, now a fully kitted out grow room. This is the lower floor looking up.

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Sallyport end of network, now a fully kitted out grow room. Upper floor of the sallyport.

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Sallyport end of network, now a fully kitted out grow room. Another view of the upper floor of the sallyport.

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Sallyport end of network, now a fully kitted out grow room. Upper Sallyport floor again with pipework leading out into the sallyport access tunnel.

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Sallyport end of network, now a fully kitted out grow room. Lower floor and more artefacts piled up.

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Connecting tunnel leading up to Fort Clarence.

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Connecting tunnel leading up to Fort Clarence. Tunnel is fully lit and we had to place cardboard over the PIR's.

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Stairway leading up to Fort Clarence itself. Need to be a bit quiet around this bit as a doorway at the top leads straight into the residents area.
 

Wevsky

A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
Crap, well spotted. Can't seem to edit?
Has the edit post choice gone ? should eb good for 24 hours, then if you can edit post its in the advanced options, well used to be before they changed the forum?
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Another good report. Thanks for putting in the link to KL, explains the farm. Very professional job, those ducts are huge. Nice shots of everything. Love the walls in the tunnel connecting Fort Clarence, very Fort Amherst looking. Make a nice shape and super build. Like this :cool:
 

Wevsky

A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
Another good report. Thanks for putting in the link to KL, explains the farm. Very professional job, those ducts are huge. Nice shots of everything. Love the walls in the tunnel connecting Fort Clarence, very Fort Amherst looking. Make a nice shape and super build. Like this :cool:
They usually remove all the kit when they bust set ups , so ive heard
 

Kidney

Weirdy Beardy
28DL Full Member
Another good report. Thanks for putting in the link to KL, explains the farm. Very professional job, those ducts are huge. Nice shots of everything. Love the walls in the tunnel connecting Fort Clarence, very Fort Amherst looking. Make a nice shape and super build. Like this :cool:
Thanks, appreciate it. Yes the parabolic arch is classic Napoleonic era.

Has the edit post choice gone ? should eb good for 24 hours, then if you can edit post its in the advanced options, well used to be before they changed the forum?
Managed to work out how to do it.
 

Kidney

Weirdy Beardy
28DL Full Member
Apparently getting a ladder down an airshaft is more difficult than bashing out a Noob-hole. Could of been available for alot longer but hey ho. People ruin it for themselves :confused:
 

LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
Not always, Bethel they just damaged the tents etc beyond repair. Literally slashed holes in them. Tents were like 5-10k a pop and was about 10 of them :eek:
Very true, I had a look at Bethel's last month, took me by surprise by just how much kit was still left down there. It's a shame the old bill didn't confiscate it, would've made it a tad more photogenic
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
They usually remove all the kit when they bust set ups , so ive heard
The ones Ive come across have had mostly ducts, and pots, stalks, and empty HPS boxes left laying around. Apart from the Coach house. The cellar had a black bin bag full of buds, missed by cops I expect. But all lights, tents, filters gone, most of the time.
 

Hidinginplanesite

Khruabnx
28DL Full Member
This still open atm someone I know went other day keep meaning to go down and have a look ! Tried a few times in 2014 !

nice photos though
 

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