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Author Topic: Hoo Fort  (Read 30337 times)

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Re: Hoo Fort
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2010, 15:25:40 »
I read somewhere that Hoo Fort was MoD property and entry was illegal wheras Darnet Fort was owned by Medway Council (pause for boos) and that anyone with the right equipment and determination could visit.  I stand ready to be corrected though.

Offline colin haggart

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Re: Hoo Fort
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2010, 21:33:02 »
I scanned this from The Medway Extra.


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Re: Hoo Fort
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2009, 10:34:16 »
Hi everyone.

Just watched the superb You Tube videos of the forts, and Kyn what a fantastic write up you did!

All i can say is what a terribly sad waste of history, these two forts have so much to offer, and if restored would be a major attraction. Just the postions alone would be a real catcher, but the workmanship of them, the massiveness of the structures, it's an age gone, they don't build 'em like that anymore.

One day some informed authority may just see the historic value of these forts, before it is too late. Flooding to prevent vandalism is hardly a viable way to preserve them. I suppose with the current recession the chances of any money being thorwn at it is nil. Pity. And a loss.

I grew up in Second Avenue, Gillingham, and at the bottom of our garden was an old green Anderson shelter. It's gone now. More interestingly, I had a friend who lived very close by and in his garden was a full blown air raid shelter, in brick. It had a "dome" of earth over it, you went down steps into it, and either side were two rooms with wooden benches!!  Wonderful!! You could also go round the back and climb on top!! I looked at the Google earth site last night, and it appears to be still there, but I would guess I should divulge exactly where it is. How many times I have passed the house and thought of knocking I don't know!!

I love this site!!


Offline Trikeman

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Re: Hoo Fort
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2009, 21:48:03 »
Here's a recent aerial of Hoo Fort - well done for getting out there.

Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast


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Re: Hoo Fort
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2009, 18:23:15 »
Couple of pics:

Offline karlostg

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Re: Hoo Fort
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2008, 10:29:13 »
Ive been to Hoo fort. We used the Tug moorings to moor up (always wet at high/low tide), then used a dingy to get across to the semi-derelict pier - its a long climb up a fixed metal ladder! Its also at the wrong end of the island so its a trek down.
There are staff that live on the barges moored there, but they are quite happy as long as you supply lunch  ;D

Offline kyn

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Hoo Fort
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2008, 14:52:04 »
Hoo Fort

Due to political unrest in Europe during the 1850's it was decided that the Royal commissioners must survey all defence works in the United Kingdom and repair or construct suitable defences in case of invasion, France being the biggest threat at the time.  The findings were to new fortifications in many areas including Chatham as it was home to an important Royal Dockyard.  The commissioners report from 1860 reads:

'These circumstances combined with the growing importance of Chatham and the fact it is our great Naval establishment in the eastern part of England (for we have already stated Sheerness Dockyard is of comparatively small importance) have led us to the conclusion that there are abundant reasons for adding very considerably to the existing fortifications.'

Hoo Fort was originally to be built at Burntwick Island but due to the soft soil at the site another island had to be chosen, one with another fort of the same design could be built on an adjacent island that could be connected by a boom chain to protect the river and dockyard further from enemy ships.

A further survey was undertaken to find a suitable site for the fort with a decision being made that the islands of Hoo Ness and Darnet would be suitable, they were separated by 1 KM of the main shipping lane and lay 3-4KM from the Royal Dockyard at Chatham.

Boring on Hoo Ness was taken to a depth of 18 feet in 1861, this showed the subsoil to be made up of sand and clay, because of this the pilings for the foundations were driven to a depth of 50 feet, due to the ease of sinking the piles the concrete bed to support the foundations was increased from 8 to 10 feet.  The threat of subsidence also caused the plans of the fort to be adapted in 1863, the magazines were originally to be built in the centre of the fort however it was decided to build them around the sides of the fort so to spread the weight more evenly.

In 1863 construction of a well had started, the concrete was so saturated a porous 4,500 gallons of water had to be pumped out each hour.

By the 16th April 1864 the masonry had reached the height of 11 feet, unfortunately subsidence had caused the walls to crack, this resulted in iron bands being placed around the lower sections of the fort, other measures were taken to strengthen the building including iron rods 1 inches thick being driven into the masonry these being connected by pins to the iron bands.  3.000 tons of ballast was also poured into the centre of the fort, pipes were also placed to siphon water from the area in 1866, they removed up to 5000 tons of water during several years.

Due to so many problems from the weight of the building works plans were revised in 1867, this reduced the height of the fort from 3 tiers to 2.  The upper 2 tiers were to be gun floors, housing 25 guns (64pounders and 110 pdrs) and the lower level to be used as barracks and stores.  The new plans showed 1 casemated gun floor holding 11 x 9in rifled muzzle loaders weighing 12 tons each, the lower level still consisting of accommodation, latrines and stores.

The centre of the fort was hollow like a large drum, inside this area were two large water tanks with the roof used as a parade ground with a flagstaff in the centre.  The upper casemates were connected to the parade ground by bridges crossing the walkway to the lower casemates.

Access to the fort was through two gates separated by a drawbridge, this area was defended by two musket loopholes on either side.  The remains of the geared winding device with counterweights can still be seen although the pit under the drawbridge has been infilled.

The magazines lay underneath a concrete skirt that was constructed to protect the fort from flooding during the spring tide and to prevent mud and water rising and flooding the fort from the weight of the building.  The magazines consisted of cartridge store and shell stores with an ammunition passage running past each room.  Lanterns placed on a tray inside overhead glass passages that crossed the ammunition passage lit the rooms, the tray would be pulled into place in a recess above the magazine door by a pulley system.  Lighting was done this way to prevent the naked flames coming in contact with the ammunition.  Access to the lantern was from a lighting passage that was found inside some of the lower casemates used for accommodation to house 100 men.

Guns 2 to 8 had one room each for cartridges and one room each for shells, yet guns 9 and 10 shared the rooms as did rooms 11 and 1.  This was because guns 9, 10, 11, 1 were landward facing guns so would not have needed as much ammunition.

Cartridges and shells were taken to a small room opposite the magazines to be sent up to the gun floor via a hoist, the top of the hoist can be found between each gun emplacement.

The casemates used for accommodation were all built with fireplaces, in one of the casemates you can still find a stove instead of a fireplace, other remaining features that remain include are slate latrines, a slate bathtub, water tanks, hand basins and ovens, one is made from cast-iron built by Adam and Sons of London.

The guns and gunners were protected by incoming fire by large shields placed within the embrasure at the front of the casemates.  This shield was built using sheets of wrought iron 5 and a ? in thick and wood of the same measurements, 3 sheets wrought iron and 2 sheets of wood were used alternately to make the shields designed by Captain Inglis and Lieutenant English of the Royal Engineers.  There would have also been a thick rope curtain called a mantlet on the inside of the shields to protect the gunners from splinters in the event of a direct hit.

After many years in use as gunnery practise the fort was handed over to the Royal Artillery Corps Care and Maintenance Unit until 1920 when it was disarmed.

The fort was used during the two world wars as an observation post with pillboxes being built on the top of the gun floor casemates.


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