Ref Number: 0027
Ref Number: 0027
In 1860, the Royal commission decided that new vessels and armaments being developed in western Europe necessitated fortifying the approaches and making it impossible for any attacking navy to come close to their goal in order to protect the home fleet in Portsmouth. Newer warships being constructed are too fast and have too much firepower to make the notion of a ring of ships doing this work. It would be suicidal for even the most technologically sophisticated ship of the day to try to attack the intended ring of forts, yet they could be built with fearsome armament and great fortifications.
The proposed diameter of the forts was an enormous 300 feet. Forts Horse Sands, Spitbank, No Man’s Land, and St. Helens were whittled down to a more manageable 240 feet in circumference after considerable debate.
The Horse Sands Fort cost a whopping $424,694. Using the retail price index as a translation converter, this amount translates to a very pricey fortress in today’s market of £31,200,000.00.
Located on the eastern approaches to Portsmouth Harbour from the east, this outer fort was started in 1861 and is an exact replica of No Man’s Land. It was a self-sufficient fortress with its own water supply, and its 200-foot circumference and armour plating made it ideal for housing five officers and seventy-two men.
By the time it was finished, the fear of invasion by the French had totally receded, although it was periodically updated with new weapons throughout the following years.
During both the First and Second World Wars the fort had gun turrets and searchlights fitted. It was only totally decommissioned and handed over to The Portsmouth Naval Base Heritage in 1993, however if was further decided to put in on the market in 2002.
Henry John Temple, the son of Viscount Palmerston of Ireland, was born on October 29, 1784, in Broadlands, Hampshire. Following his father’s death on April 16, 1802, he inherited the Irish peerage and attended Harrow School and St. John’s College, Cambridge.