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Author Topic: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst  (Read 31447 times)

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Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #50 on: April 04, 2013, 23:12:59 »
I was looking at a photo of the Belvedere Guardhouse site I took about a year ago and thought it made an interesting comparison with what we have uncovered so far during the recording.

January 2012, only hinted at under grass.


February 2013, Turf lifted exposing brickwork


March 2013, outer walls, foundations and 1930s annexe exposed.
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #49 on: March 06, 2013, 00:47:11 »
Some more information relating to the origins of the building (thanks bromptonboy for the details from Debbeig's Letter Book):

It appears to have been built at the same time as the Grand Magazine it sits atop of in the 1780s. In a letter of 29 April 1780 Debbieg expresses his intention ‘to go to Chatham on Monday next to have lain the foundations of the new magazine’. In a letter of 18 August 1781 Gother Mann asserts it is ‘Lord Amherst’s intention that there should be a Serjeants Guard posted on the Belvedere battery in the Guard Room over the magazine’.    This seems to suggest the magazine and the blockhouse were built between May 1780 and August 1781.

The earliest representation of it appears to be on the 1786 Plan of the Lines (100 feet to the inch), where it is shown as a building approximately 36’ by 28’ (11m x 8.5m), which matches the foundations excavated on the site within the tolerances of map scaling.
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2013, 23:00:58 »
Thanks Merc, I was looking in the wrong board it seems!
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #46 on: March 05, 2013, 22:02:35 »
I have just found this detail in a previous post by Kyn regarding some very exciting plans she had found in the National Archives. It refers to the Belvedere Magazine and the Storeroom over it.

I'm probably being blind but I can't find the post referred to. Can anyone give me the link?
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #45 on: March 04, 2013, 18:07:06 »
I just placed those dimensions over the plan (grey rectangle) - I think we can say that is a match.



I have also been sent a couple more images of the area from the 1940s which might help trigger some memories.

Oblique aerial photo, 1948. This clearly shows the 'extension' on the SW end of the building. (Note also the bofors gun position on the rampart to the right and Amherst House/Bungalow towards the rear of the photo.)


Vertical aerial photo, 1946 (north to top). Although not as detailed as the one above, it shows some interesting details: The spigot mortar position at the sw end of the ditch, the bofors gun position south of the blockhouse and the damage to the north end of Prince William's Barracks. There is also an interesting feature at the southern corner of the blockhouse (another spigot mortar?)
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Offline bromptonboy

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #44 on: March 04, 2013, 13:58:22 »
I have just found this detail in a previous post by Kyn regarding some very exciting plans she had found in the National Archives. It refers to the Belvedere Magazine and the Storeroom over it.

                                                                                        Height      Length.   Breadth.   Walls.   Roof.      No of Stories
Number on Plan - 72     
In the gorge of Belvedere Battery - Magazine                       16”        31”     15”            Brick    Brick & Tile   One Storey
In the gorge of Belvedere Battery – Store over Magazine            12”       35”     27.5    Brick   Slate   One Storey

I hope this helps in some way.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #43 on: March 04, 2013, 01:15:58 »
I wonder if this was the cause of the remodelling of the building that involved removing the pitched roof seen in earlier illustrations.
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merc

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2013, 01:09:48 »
I expect so, Leofwine. Another article says "By direction of Major-General F. Murray the guard has been removed from the Inner Lines into Fort Amherst to guard the magazines."

Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2013, 23:10:24 »
I presume the guardhouse that was removed inside the fort was the Amherst Guard, which about a year after that became the groundsman's cottage for the Garrison Gardens.
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merc

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2013, 21:29:08 »
This article might refer to the blockhouse.

Wednesday, January 1, 1868

A strong military guard has been posted within Fort Amherst, Chatham, and the guardhouse removed within the fort, for the protection of the stores of Snider cartridges and other small arm ammunition stored in the magazines in the fort. A line of sentries communicating from the heights on which the magazine is built with the garrison both by day and night.

From The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #39 on: February 27, 2013, 16:12:31 »
Still working on the site, uncovered another wall today and clarified some more details (will be amending the drawing later with the updates.)
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Offline kyn

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2013, 11:23:00 »
Excellent work Leofwine, this will be very useful when work needs to be done in this area.  It is great to see it mapped out finally!

merc

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2013, 11:12:26 »
Great work Leofwine :)

It's like Time Team...

Offline davpott

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2013, 23:10:39 »
I took my dad to visit the fort five or six years ago. He knew the fort when he did his national service in the early 1950s. He was trying to get his bearings and found our way to the top and he said there was something missing and wondered if he had been thinking of somewhere else. We walked into the Grand Magazine, he then said "well this is how I remember it, but there used to be something else higher".

Unfortunately he's not here to ask what it was anymore.

 

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