Sunday, November 06, 2005
Maunsell Forts in the Thames Estuary
"The Thames Estuary Army Forts were constructed in 1942 to a design by Guy Maunsell, following the successful construction and deployment of the Naval Sea Forts. Their purpose was to provide anti-aircraft fire within the Thames Estuary area. Each fort consisted of a group of seven towers with a walkway connecting them all to the central control tower. The fort, when viewed as a whole, comprised one Bofors tower, a control tower, four gun towers and a searchlight tower. They were arranged in a very specific way, with the control tower at the centre, the Bofors and gun towers arranged in a semi-circular fashion around it and the searchlight tower positioned further away, but still linked directly to the control tower via a walkway. All the forts followed this plan and, in order of grounding, were called the Nore Army Fort, the Red Sands Army Fort and finally the Shivering Sands Army Fort. All three forts were in place by late 1943, but Nore is no longer standing. Construction of the towers was relatively quick, and they were easily floated out to sea and grounded in water no more than 30m (100ft) deep."
(I like the shot above with the container ship visible in the background.)
The forts as they appeared in 1965, with walkways still intact. In the 1960s the forts were claimed, adapted and repurposed by pirate radio broadcasters.
"Grounded in 1943 to defend the Thames approaches & London, abandoned by the MoD in 1956 Red Sands army forts became home to Radio Invicta, K.I.N.G & Radio 390 between 1964 & 1967."
found via boingboing
Artist Stephen Turner spent six weeks alone in the Shivering Sands Fort Complex. He has his journal online (with some excellent photos) here.
Project Redsands is attempting to get the forts listed as National Monument and Heritage sites in the UK.