THIS WEEK IN 1971: The fort that was slowly falling apart 

The courtyard, strewn with broken glass, bricks and other debris, was evidence that hooligans had been at work.
The courtyard, strewn with broken glass, bricks and other debris, was evidence that hooligans had been at work.

Deserted by the services two years previously, Fort Purbrook had a question mark hanging over its future. 

The buildings were built at a cost of £118, 761 in the 19th century as a defence against invasion.

Portsmouth Corporation agreed to spend £5,000 on buying the fort and its 21.55 acres, however hooligans took to the site.

One incident involved a fire in the main block, leading to firemen investigating and using breathing apparatus to reach the seat of the fire. After one of these fires, children were spotted running from the fort. 

‘Although there has been vandalism, those fittings which were damaged in the fire were worthless,’ said a Ministry of Defence spokesman.

‘The fort itself is not damaged and is still structurally sound.’

A spokesman for Portsmouth Corporation’s Development Department said that as soon as the contract had been signed, the Corporation would make the fort secure against hooligans. 

Now, Fort Purbrook is opened for craft fairs and is home to an activities centre.