The 'secret' fort in Eastney that few people know exists: RETRO

Here we see a close up of Eastney Fort West surrounded by a moat.
Here we see a close up of Eastney Fort West surrounded by a moat.
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The photograph I published on Wednesday August 14, 2019 piqued the interest of several readers. 

Geoffrey Salvetti is the founder chairman of Palmerston Forts Society.

It is an international charity specialising in Victorian fortifications worldwide which acts as consultants to many local authorities and other organisations owning Victorian forts worldwide.

I asked about the south west corner of the photograph which was Eastney Fort West.

He furnished me with the following information.

‘Construction commenced in June 1861 and was completed in March 1863 at a cost of £17,435 for the two Eastney batteries, West and East, including the banquette and ditches that lay between them and surrounded the forts.

‘Behind the fort, starting originally in the lane which became Eastern Parade, is the former military road which continued in a straight line to Fort Cumberland across the military land and across the artillery (mortar) and musket/rifle ranges.

‘Eastney Fort West is still the best preserved of the three shore batteries, including Lumps Fort, and largely because it became the private garden of the Major-General after the forts were disarmed around 1907. 

‘After the sale and development of the barracks site from 1994, the fort became the private garden of the residents of Teapot Row and Crinoline Gardens, the small recent development on the site of the former Crinoline Church.

‘The fort still retains its magazines and several gun positions, some of which date from the original construction and some, including the 6-inch hydro-pneumatic disappearing gun and the Victorian machine gun positions, date from the 1890s.

‘Your photograph shows at least one gun ramp; the chemin de ronde (walkway around the fort); the surrounding ditches (dry moats) to the fort and the front of TPR before they were filled in during World War Two. 

‘It was after the promenade was constructed, partially demolishing the south east corner of Eastney Fort East in the interwar period.’

I am currently putting together another two books of then and now photographs.

One is of Portsmouth of which I have many.

The other is of the Havant area. I am somewhat short of photographs of Bedhampton and Leigh Park, especially Leigh Park when the estate was first built in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

I know residents did not have the money to take photographs back then but there might just be one or two in a drawer you have forgotten about.

I have plenty of Leigh Park House and gardens but it is street views I am after.

If you could assist I would be grateful. I would not have to take them out of your house. I can photograph a photograph.

Please ring me on (023) 9243 5936.

Last week I published a photograph of the Bristol 403 saloon car from 1953.

Ian Heath tells us more:

‘I don't know much about post-war cars, but Bristol was originally a subsidiary of the Bristol Aeroplane Company.

‘BAC (not to be confused with the later British Aircraft Corporation), had dabbled in cars after the Great War and, determined not to be caught out after the Second World War, when they knew the big aircraft orders would end, they decided to go into car production themselves.

‘How producing high class, low volume motors would help BAC I have no idea, but this is what they did.

‘The company eventually became Bristol Cars Ltd and it has had various owners since.

‘I believe it went out of business or went bankrupt a few years ago, but was acquired by new owners and still produces vehicles far above the pocket of the average motorist. 

‘I believe Prince Charles is a fan’. 

With the murder of a police officer in Berkshire and a lawyer in Newcastle who was stabbed with a screwdriver, not to mention the dozens of knife crimes in the UK this year alone, is it not time to bring back the hangman’s noose?

Matters are really getting out of hand now and no one in authority appears not to have a clue what to do about it.

I know that when we did have capital punishment it did not stop others murderers taking lives, but I am sure there was not so much blatant killing for little reason as there appears to be today.

I am sure that if the threat of execution was reinstated then at least some of this insanity would stop.