Castles, Fortresses & Associated Works => Further Castles, Fortresses & Associated Works => Topic started by: kyn on November 25, 2008, 18:04:09

Title: Red Sands Forts
Post by: kyn on November 25, 2008, 18:04:09
In the early 1940's three Forts with the same design were built to protect the southeast coast and London from enemy attacks, the forts were fitted with new radar to provide and early warning system of approaching aircraft, they would also attempt to disperse air formations and prevent mine laying in the shipping lanes to London.  The forts consisted of seven 300 tonne towers, five of which were gun towers, the central tower was a control tower with another Bofors gun on the roof, the seventh tower was at the rear of the others, this held the searchlights.  The towers were self sufficient with fuel and food stores and living and sleeping accommodation, 120 men manned the towers.  Redsands Fort (U6) was the second of the structures to be built, it was situated at Red Sands, five nautical miles from Warden Point on the Isle of Sheppey, the towers were floated out between July and November 1943.  The forts were designed by Mr G.A. Maunsell and constructed by Holloway Brothers at Gravesend.  As with the other forts the Army left Red Sands Fort in 1956 leaving it in the hands of Care and Maintenance until 1958 when the Army abandoned the fort altogether, the following year it was considered to refloat the fort and bring them ashore but this proved too expensive.

The towers were left empty for eight years and on the 3rd June 1964 Radio Invicta boarded them and began transmitting, when the owner of the pirate radio station died, Tom Pepper (Harry Featherbee), in March 1965 the station changed it's name to Radio K.I.N.G., the station closed on 22nd September 1965 due to bad signal and poor audience ratings.  Initially this station was reported to be transmitting from the Nore Fort, maybe a mistake on their part,  After considerable reinvestment the station returned as Radio 390 the following day, the station was eventually outlawed and closed 28th July 1967, the caretaker crew stayed for a following month removing everything except the 'floating' wooden studio.

Project Redsand, a group of volunteers who are attempting to restore the towers and open them to the public, is now looking after the fort.  Since August 2003 they have been in talks with Government agencies about their proposal and have had a survey team inspect the towers to check the stability of the towers. The result was the towers are structurally safe and the project was given the go ahead.  Mowlem Marine, experts in Marine Structures, installed new and safe access to the towers in 2005 with materials donated by a number of companies based on the River Thames.  This has encouraged other companies to show interest across the country.  Project Redsand also asked for the fort to be listed, unfortunately this was refused, the reason for this is stated below:
 
'Project Redsand, in its request that the site should be considered for legal protection through designation, asked that Redsand Towers should be considered for listing or scheduling. Advice on the legality of listing a structure in this location was therefore sought from English Heritage's Legal Services who confirmed that that the forts did not qualify for listing: Acts of Parliament do not, as a general rule, extend to the United Kingdom's territorial waters (ie: the area between the low tide line to a distance of 12 miles). The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act (1979), under which monuments are scheduled, has an express provision at section 53 to the effect that a monument within the territorial waters of the UK may be scheduled. However, the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, under which structures are listed, has no such provision and is therefore only applicable down to the low tide line and not beyond. It is therefore not legally possible, under the current legislation, for the Redsand Towers to be listed. '

'Redsand Fort has been assessed and found to be of national importance. However, it is not considered that scheduling will be the most appropriate form of future management. The site is remote; the fort was designed to have a finite life and is a steel and concrete structure in a hostile marine environment. In order to secure the fort for the future it will be necessary to carry out remedial works, some of which have already begun under the umbrella of Project Redsand. It is not felt that it would be in the interest of the fort to schedule it and therefore impose the resulting restrictions upon the monument. Indeed it is felt that scheduling will be too heavy handed a control which might, in fact, be detrimental to the on-going and future management of the site.'

The Ministry of Defence have agreed to supply a team of Royal Engineers to assist with work undertaken at the fort as part of the Engineers training, also once restoration is complete they hope to be able to use the fort for assault training.

The fort has once again been used as a radio station when in July 2007 they were given a restricted licence allowing transmission for 10 days to commemorate 40 years since the demise of 'offshore Radio' from the sea forts with Canterbury City Council and the Lottery Fund as sponsors. Project Redsands hope to eventually use the towers for music recording studios, communications facilities, a wartime broadcasting museum and possibly for digital broadcast.  The intention is to bring guests over in small groups to visit the towers with the possibility of weddings and corporate outings too.

More information about Project Redsands can be found at their website: http://www.project-redsand.com/index.htm
Title: Red Sands Forts
Post by: afsrochester on May 12, 2009, 21:34:16
Hi Kyn.

It looks like the very thing that Radio 390 argued in 1967 for its legality has come up again!!!
Title: Red Sands Forts
Post by: kyn on March 10, 2010, 12:49:37
Plans
Title: Red Sands Forts
Post by: kyn on August 09, 2010, 16:30:25
As we are unsure as to whether these are Shivering Sands or Red Sands I thought I would add the last four pictures in this thread.

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/155Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/154Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/153Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/156Small.jpg)
Title: Red Sands Forts
Post by: afsrochester on August 19, 2010, 17:19:59
Red Sands Fort when it was Radio 390,was used for an episode of "Danger Man" back in the mid-60's, starring Patrick McGoohan. The episode was called "Not so Jolly Roger". The stations id was "This is Radio Jolly Roger, Your Friendly Pirate!"  :)

Interesting that they called themselves a "pirate" station in this episode as the stations aboard ships and the forts, referred to themselves as "Offshore Radio, or Free Radio." The Media and the Government at the time had another definition of course! :)
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: kyn on May 05, 2014, 15:52:21
My brother, with some of our lovely volunteers went out to a work day to these yesterday, here are some of his photos.
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: merc on May 05, 2014, 16:05:15
I nearly started a new thread for these (I should have known better really... )

Here's some of my pics from yesterday :)

Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: grandarog on May 05, 2014, 17:07:39
What a great opportunity. How did you get up to take picture 3.? I thought the access ladders had been removed.
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: merc on May 05, 2014, 17:25:08
There's one access ladder remaining on the fort that was used as a radio station. I don't really want to say too much about access... But it was an official work day we were on, and we locked the front door behind us :)
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: merc on May 06, 2014, 11:51:26
The Times - Monday, June 29, 1964

Another pirate radio station, Radio Invicta, may be broadcasting next month. A boat left Folkestone on Friday with seven men and a large radio transmitter on board for an abandoned Army Fort in the Thames Estuary. A man connected with the venture said: "They intend to start broadcasting 10 hours a day on July 15 or earlier if things go well." Among those supporting the venture were two London shipowners and a Kent industrialist. The intention was to broadcast music of a higher quality than the other pirate stations.
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: merc on May 06, 2014, 11:58:37
The Times - Friday, December 18, 1964

A disc jockey and a colleague from the pirate radio station, Radio Invicta, in the Thames Estuary were reported missing yesterday after the body of the boatman who was bringing them back on leave had been washed ashore at Whitstable.
The boatman was Mr. Harry Featherbee, aged 38, of Folkestone, known as Tom Pepper, who started the radio station with his savings last July. Later it was stated that one of the two staff of Radio Invicta on board the boat was Simon Ashley, who ran the "Pot Luck" show. The other was Martin Richard David Shaw, an engineer.
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: conan on May 06, 2014, 16:57:48
There's some photos of the radio station on the fort here as well as a tribute to Tom Pepper

http://www.offshoreradio.co.uk/album35.htm
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: merc on May 07, 2014, 10:30:37
From The Illustrated London News - Saturday, December 03, 1966
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: JohnWalker on May 07, 2014, 11:20:43
Some more offshore pirate radio info on the this site which might be of interest.

http://www.bobleroi.co.uk/ScrapBook/ScrapBook.html (http://www.bobleroi.co.uk/ScrapBook/ScrapBook.html)

JW
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: merc on May 07, 2014, 14:06:05
Some pics of the inside:
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: Desbrow on May 08, 2014, 02:35:55
There's some brief footage of the installation right at the end of one of the British Pathé clips of the HMS Truculent disaster that Herb Collector pointed to recently.  The following link should open at the appropriate spot (it's around the 4 min 18 secs mark or thereabouts):

http://youtu.be/PA-QG02xTBc?t=4m18s

Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: xaphan on June 24, 2014, 16:51:22
A few quick photos from this weekends official workday / weekend:

(https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/t1.0-9/10487452_10152090920150940_659977682091762147_n.jpg)

(https://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/t1.0-9/10431541_10152090920305940_2572628129446110640_n.jpg)

Beautiful sunset Saturday night...
(https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xaf1/t1.0-9/1907716_10152090920485940_696431156904113505_n.jpg)

Shivering Sands in the distance
(https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfp1/t1.0-9/10414440_10152090920595940_5265938333369787593_n.jpg)

Sunday was so clear we could see Fort Knock John quite clearly
(https://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/t1.0-9/10500418_10152090920690940_8361443049548409840_n.jpg)

(https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/t1.0-9/10389709_10152090921620940_4357762981176548184_n.jpg)

(https://scontent-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/t1.0-9/10422421_10152090921795940_5394616162420558554_n.jpg)
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: Local Hiker on November 29, 2015, 16:10:32
Interesting but unlikely...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3338203/The-Necker-Island-Wartime-sea-forts-coast-Kent-set-converted-luxury-resort.html
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: grandarog on November 29, 2015, 16:33:42
Looks a pretty strong investment to me. Once completed the profit margins will be astronomical. The billionaires with multi million pound yachts and football clubs will vie to outdo each other with their lavish hosting of events etc.They are always wanting to be the best at finding new hypes.
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: Desbrow on November 30, 2015, 22:59:14
This was mentioned in the following thread back in June (Conan was the original spotter):

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=18573.msg161711#msg161711 (http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=18573.msg161711#msg161711)

Interesting to note that Mr Cooper appears to have replaced the architecture firm he was using at that point with a branding / PR firm with no engineering expertise; which may be a further indication of the likelihood of the project ever taking off.
Title: Re: Red Sands Forts
Post by: sparky230 on January 29, 2016, 23:27:01
https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-mp-to-stop-the-red-sands-forts-being-covered-in-graffiti-art