NOSTALGIA: Why you can land on a Solent fort

How many of you have visited Spitbank Fort in the Solent and wondered how they managed to build the landing stage?

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 14th August 2018, 10:34 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 10:06 pm
Spitbank Fort in the Solent.
Spitbank Fort in the Solent.

Partly, it was down to Roger Allen, a former shipbreaker at Harry Pounds's yard at Tipner, Portsmouth.

In 1982 Roger was approached by Sean Maguire, the fort's owner, asking if he could help placing RSJs against the fort's outer walls. Roger agreed as he owned a barge with a crane. A dozen RSJs were taken out to the fort at 2.30am as the tide was right.

Divers went down and Roger lowered the RSJs one at a time. The divers used Hilti guns, semi-automatic fastening tools which could fire rivets through the concrete RSJ and into the stone of the fort wall. The entire operation took place under water.

To help keep the RSJs in place when lowered from the barge, two Blue Boats belonging to the Butcher family, buffered against the barge, a very tricky operation. The whole operation went without a hitch.  And that's why you can now get on to the fort in complete safety.