Report - Fort Gilkicker, October, 2015

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Sep 9, 2015
After two tea breaks before 8am on Monday morning I thought best to organise a little trip out that evening. After a little message to @Palisade , it was on. Fast forward until the end of the day (no research other than getting a postcode) and we were off. We’d both heard that Fort Gilkicker was easy to get into, but we were not entirely prepared for what we came across. After a quick lap of the site we noticed that security was looser than MC Hammer's trousers (nice up-to-date cultural reference); so we spent a few moments discussing which of the many holes in the sieve like fence we’d like to use, and then wandered in.

Before going any further I believe it is 28dl etiquette to provide some of the history of this well reported on site. Gilkicker is a Palmerston fort built in Gosport. Palmerston forts were built in the Victorian Period by recommendation of the seven people which made up the Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom as a direct response to the perceived strength of the French Navy. They were also known as “Palmerston's Follies” because the threat of invasion had passed, and gun technology had moved on, making them almost obsolete on completion.

Gilkicker itself was completed in 1871. It went through various re-armaments and improvement processes, noteably armed with early anti-aircraft guns during WW1 and it was home to a signals unit in the build up to D-Day. From 1956, after the abolition of Coastal Defence, it became a plumber’s workshop. In the 80s it was used to store building materials before being cleared in the mid-nineties. In 2012 planning permission was granted for conversion to luxury apartments, guide prices of£1.8million for a three bed house and £250,000 for 1 bed apartments…. But this idea has seems to have been shelved.

Guess the point of this report is just to try and explain what a bizarre experience it was. Palisade and I entered the Fort from the beach side and as soon as we stepped onto the roof we spotted four teenagers at the far end of the site. We went around our own business anyway, before spotting a second group, with one boy repeatedly shouting “We’re urban exploring”. At this moment I felt down with kids… Also at the same time I spotted a young couple just leaving the fort by the front door. With the yard feeling like the Bigg Market on a Friday night we decided it was time to head inside through the gun casements, looking for the tunnels.

After about 40-minutes to an hour we bumped into the second group of kids again. After a quick chat it transpired they were pretty scared, we reassured them they’d be fine and at worst they'd get wet feet in the tunnel. We then went over to the barracks at the rear of the site. Five minutes later the boys rejoined us, and began following us around, we became a sort of mobile comfort blanket… Feeling like the Pied Pipers of Portsmouth we continued going from room to room with our new “tour guides” in tow. Providing helpful snippets like “that’s a toilet” and “I think it’s some erm… brickwork”. One of them then got a phone call saying it was time for diner, whilst an other was given an amended 7pm curfew. The third never said a word. After we parted company we heard a cry of “We can’t go in there, the door is locked”… the door was more hole than door.

Anyway here are some shots… awful camera work, not many came out from inside sadly. Oh and on leaving we bumped into a man, his son and a dog. Making it 11 other people and 1 Jack Russell encountered during this trip.


View on entry...


Rear of gun casements


Only locked gate on site


Inside one of the two parallel tunnels


One of the shafts for moving ammunition between floors


Our "tour guides" after their brief look in one of the tunnels


Upstairs in barrack block.


My arse.


Open door policy.


Time for fish and chips (with curry sauce).


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Apr 8, 2015
Nicely written Wildling. I'd forgotten about the kids getting stumped by the padlocked door with the MASSIVE hole in it. Brilliant...

Bertie Bollockbrains

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Sep 1, 2014
On my visit a kind stranger (some random passing middle-aged man and his son) held open the fence allowing me to easily leave. It certainly is a very sociable site.
Last edited:
Likes: wildling

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