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History Castles and Fortifications

St Helens Fort (Solent)

REF NR: 25

The defence review of 1860 had the proposed that the St Helens Point Battery cover the St Helens Anchorage and to stop any covert landings along the waterfront area. However, due to unsuitable site conditions a review in 1865 saw the propose site move to that of an offshore position 1,200 yards south of Sturbridge Shoal. In 1867 designs for the fort were approved and was to be iron plated to the seaward side and a granite facing finish towards landfall.  It was suggested that the would have fifteen gun in casemounts and a further two powerful turreted guns on top.


During the building process the superstructure began to suffer from slippage and the fort began to tilt. By 1870 the Defence Committee had decided to alter the armament in order to balance some of the uneven settlement and decided to place two heavy guns mounted on each side in Moncreiff mounts, instead of the four primary guns and also replace the others with much lighter guns.  By 1873 yet another change of mind and further settlement findings saw a complete rethink, the proposal now was to abandon the basement level lower floor gun deck and that two heavier 18 ton guns in casemates are mounted.   

During the 2nd World War the site was fitted with search lights and finally deactivated and sold in 1983. The fort is now in private hands and was on the market as recently as 2003.