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Author Topic: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst  (Read 31446 times)

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Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2011, 18:44:10 »
I'm assuming the quote is from Captain James Douglas' Nenia Britannica(1793), or is it from a different publication? (I know Douglas also carried out various correspondences on his excavations in journals of the period too.)

It certainly does seem to explain the building and a guardhouse to protect the main magazine makes sense. I'm also intrigued about the tumuli being on the site of a rope walk as the 1828 Chatham Burial ground (see http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=11536) was built on the site of a former rope walk. I wonder if by sheer chance the old burial ground was 'recycled'?
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Offline kyn

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2011, 18:21:50 »
I read the article below recently and Keith and I realised that the guardhouse mentioned above the magazine must refer to the building on top of the Grand Magazine:

In September 1779, when the Lines or Military works were repairing under the command of Colonel Debbieg, to whose liberal taste in literal pursuits I am indebted for the civilities with which he facilitated my discoveries at Chatham, the labourers and soldiers with pickax (sic) and spade, in traversing a range of those small tumuli threw up some spearheads, shield bosses...  These tumuli were situated on the western slope of the steep hill which faces the town of Rochester and which descends to the Barrack Gate.  They are bounded by a cliff towards the road side which leads to the soldiers’ Barrack, and on the other, to the east, by a retaining wall of the Works, which encloses a magazine and a guard room over it.  The soil...has been ploughed over, gardens were placed upon it and before it was purchased for the King’s service, there was a Rope Walk precisely on the site of the Tumuli...


 :)

Offline man-of-kent

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2011, 14:59:20 »
I went inside it during the 1960s, but it was just a shell then. I knew nothing about what existed underneath it.
Derek Brice

merc

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Re: The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2011, 22:22:27 »
This might be the blockhouse mentioned in an 1849 Siege Operation:

"The elite of the company present was accomodated with cards of admission to the Belvedere Battery at Fort Amherst, and the Casemate No.1, where the best view could be obtained of the operations."

Offline Leofwine

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The Mysterious Belvedere Battery Guardhouse, Fort Amherst
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2011, 16:29:36 »
I have often heard about the blockhouse that once existed on top of the main magazine at Belvedere Battery, but really don't know much about it. It was mentioned briefly in another thread http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4412.0 where numan fan posted a cropped image of the Town Hall showing the structure (did anyone ever work out a date for that photo?):


That got me looking through my pictures of the fort and I noticed it does show up on a couple of those too:

Fort Amherst c.1880


The Barrier Ditch, pre 1878:


Siege Operations at Fort Amherst 1849


The 1849 one is interesting as it shows a pitched roof on the building absent from the photos, although this may just be artistic licence.

Does anyone have any ideas when this blockhouse was built and what purpose it served? Barracks perhaps, although the large windows may have served as gun ports (as at the Sally Port Blockhouse.) The 1851 census does show soldiers ar Sally Port, Spur Barracks and Fort Amherst. I wonder if the blockhouse was home to the 'Fort Amherst' contingent?

And does anyone know when and why was it demolished?
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