Ref Number: 0011
Ref Number: 0011
A Lord Palmerston folly or succesful deterant?
The Royal Commission decided in 1860 that the approaches needed to be fortified to make it impossible for any attacking navy to come even close to their goal, protecting the home fleet in Portsmouth from the new vessels and armaments being developed throughout the western reaches of Europe.
Defending with a fleet of ships seemed unrealistic in light of the increased speed and firepower of modern battleships. However, a strategically placed ring of forts may be equipped with such lethal weaponry and robust defences that it would be suicidal for even the most advanced vessel of the time to attempt an attack.
The total cost of constructing the No Man’s Land Fort was £462,500. Using the consumer price index as a benchmark, the equivalent cost in today’s market is projected to be over £67,million, making it one of the most expensive forts ever constructed.
Located on Spithead, to the east of Portsmouth Harbour, this outer fort was constructed in 1861 and was an exact replica of Horse Sands Fort. It had its own water supply and was 200 feet in circumference, making it a self-sufficient stronghold. It had a 200-foot circle and was to be staffed by five officers and seventy-two soldiers.The danger of a French invasion had subsided by the time it was completed, but it was periodically upgraded with new weapons during the years that followed.
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.