Report - - Grain Tower Battery - Kent - July 2010 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Grain Tower Battery - Kent - July 2010


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Grain Tower Battery


1: Amazing structure - about 8-10 storeys high, it's massive!

I'd been wanting to do the Grain Tower for a while as it's an iconic and fascinating structure over the other side of the Cliffe peninsula.

Due to a spectular fail on the tide times from yours truly (duh!) we arrived at full high tide, so killed some time by first checking out the Grain Dummy Battery on the coast, and then searching the Grain Fort site for the underground tunnels reported to be there. Unfortunately with only limited success - the site is just way to overgrown to find any small tunnel access points - but we made a mental note to return and look some more.

Once the tide was out far enough, we made our way to the tower, quickly finding that the mud flats were quite brutal, quickly claiming one of my trainers - if anyone else wants to do this, either wrap your shoes in plastic carrier bags, or wait a few hours for the mud to dry out a bit before crossing.

Access was hilariously catered for and we were off to explore and shoot in peace. Explored with Urbex13.

The History Bit

Grain Tower Battery has been covered here quite a bit, so I'll do a brief history recap:-

The Isle of Grain was the site of Grain Fort, built in the 1860s and used for coastal defence guarding the Thames until the 1950s. The fort was (unusually) almost completely demolished about 1960, leaving only the original earth rampart, complete with some tunnels running underground.

Grain Tower, some quarter mile off-shore and accessible at low tide, originated about the same time as the main fort. Later additions, concrete emplacements and shelters, were added in the World Wars and the tower was used as a boom control point. The boom was a chain with a huge net on fitted to it. This went from straight across the two rivers stopping any u-boats getting through.


2: Grain Power Station

Near the site is Grain Power Station, built in the 1970s, which burns oil. It was mothballed in 2003, but reopened in 2006 and as of 2006 provides up to three percent of the National Grid supply.

For more history of the fortifications and general area, see:
- Wiki: Isle of Grain

The Site & Buildings Bit

The fort itself was modelled on the famous Martello towers as part of the Palmerstone forts, and has been repurposed multiple times over the years. New additions include the more modern barrack block build on the side, and the observation tower.

The interior of the fort is quite dark, with a number of sections missing in the floor to access lower levels, or the ground/sea. The barrack block is rather more modern.

The fort itself is only accessible at low tide - miss this, and you're there for the night, which has been a popular pastime in the past. It's privately owned, and currently up for sale.

The Pictures Bit


3: The scariest staircase I've seen to date


4: What remains of the original jetty. The chain wrapped around the base was installed to strengthen the structure - apparently it would prevent it from splitting open if struck by an enemy torpedo. Another chain originally connected to an anchor on the Sheerness side of the estuary to prevent ships from entering the River Medway - this is long-gone.


5: Hanging together (just about!)


6: Gravity gave up on the water tank halfway down!


7: A Pretty Picture


8: Pleasant in the summer, harsh in winter


9: Descending to lower level in the extension


10: The tower is beautifully constructed with curved blocks


11: Out of the old, over to the new


12: Magazine room (with the ammo hoist) & central tower pillar


13: Going up to the top


14: This is the major gun emplacement. The shooters here could reach up to 12 miles


15: Up, down and back


16: When it's windy, it's more fun!


17: Urbex13: On ur roofs, shootin ur forts


18: Grain Dummy Battery

While the tower can be a pretty brutal and exposed place, on our visit is was a beautiful day with only a slight cool breeze blowing, which made it a pleasant and relaxed explore.

Lots more on the Flickrs...

The More Info Bit

Grain Tower Battery - the Full Flickr set

Previous Grain Tower Battery threads: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Google maps: Google maplink
Flash Earth: Flash Earth maplink

Grain Tower info: (external site)
Grain Fort tunnels info: (external site)

Grain Tower Battery official site: Official site

Video tour by the fort owner: BBC Report

The Blatant Plugging Bit

Other related reports:
- Cliffe Fort - Kent - April 2010


Thanks for reading!


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