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Historic England Research Records

Shornmead Fort

Hob Uid: 413733
Location :
Kent
Gravesham
Shorne
Grid Ref : TQ6924874769
Summary : Coastal battery built in the 1860s to cross its fire with Coalhouse and Cliffe Forts. A small battery of four guns had first occupied the site in 1796, but this was obliterated by a polygonal fort in 1847. This was in turn replaced by the present fort in the 1860s. It consists of an arc of granite-faced casemates with iron shields and an open battery at the up-river end. It was fronted by a deep ditch and caponiers, and a defensible baracks closed the rear. It was armed with eleven 11-inch and three 9-inch muzzle-loaders. By 1895, two 6-pounder quick-firing guns were mounted to cover a projected minefield adjacent to the battery. The heavy guns were removed before the First World War. In the Second World War the quick-fire emplacements were overbuilt by two emplacements for 5.5-inch breech-loading naval guns when it was reopened as an emergency battery (recorded separately as NMR Monument Record: 154769). Pillboxes were let into the river wall near the front of the battery. By the late 1970s the barracks were in a derelict state. All that now remains is the facade of the casemates and frontal ditch, and fragments of the barracks.
More information : TQ69307478 Shornmead Fort (NAT). (1)

Additional bibliography. (2-5)

Additional bibliography not consulted. (6)

Shornmead Fort located at TQ 694 747. The fort was built in the 1870s. By December 1902 ten 11-inch rifle muzzle-loading guns were mounted in the casements and it was also equipped with two 6-pounder quick-firing weapons. The battery was disarmed by the First World War. During the Second World War the fort was used as an emergency battery and fitted with 5.5-inch naval guns. The battery was reduced to care and maintenance in November 1943. (8-9)

The partial remains of Shornmead Fort survive. The fort remains in derelict, skeletal condition with some external features extant. (10)

According to feedback received via the PastScape website, the barracks area was accessible in the late 1970s, though it was derelict and flooded. There were rusting bunkbeds in the rooms and graffiti on the walls. (11)

The fort had been disarmed at some time between 1895 and 1907 and used for accommodation for the Thames Division Milita (Submarine Miners) RE at the Submarine Mining Depot located immediately to the west of the fort.

Historic aerial photographs from the Second World War show the fort and surrounding buildings in a war-time operational state. The Fort, then in tact with its earthen defenses and a scattering of internal buildings, was surrounded by barbed wire entanglements forming cells to impede attack. Pillboxes, searchlights and an emergency battery were located along the sea wall which passes in front of the fort. On the river bank to the north-west of the fort an embarkation hard (NMR Monument Number 1470603) was constructed for the D-Day landings (Operation Overlord), served by a concreted road (NMR: 1548028). The fort itself was used for barrack accommodation.

These features were mapped from aerial photographs as part of the English Heritage: Hoo Peninsula Landscape Project.

The fort is believed to have been demolished by the Royal Engineers of the Army School of Demolition, leaving only the facing wall and casemates and the underground magazines beneath. These are flooded and closed off . The site is now part of an RSP Shorne Marshes Nature Reserve. (12-13)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : OS 1:10000 1982
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Coast Defences of Eng and Wales 1856-1956 1974 106-8 (IV Hogg)
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Source Number : 11
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : PastScape feedback received 10-MAR-2010
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Source Number : 12
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 26K/UK/1455 6555 14-MAR-1945
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Source Number : 13
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF V540/1015 0105 05-FEB-1953
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ant J 40 1960 153 Map (AD Saunders)
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : A Handbook of Kent's Defences 1540-1945 1977 9 (D Bennett)
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Kents Arch Rev 25 1971 139-41 (CV Smith)
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : The Medway Forts 1976 19 20 (KR Gulvin)
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Source Number : 7
Source : Kent's Defence Heritage
Source details : Gazetteer Part 2: KD124
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Source Number : 8
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England. Volume 6.1. Coast Artillery, 1900-1956
Source details :
Page(s) : 143-152
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6.1
Source Number : 9
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England. Volume 6.2. Coast Artillery, 1900-1956
Source details :
Page(s) : 242
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Vol(s) : 6.2
Source Number : 10
Source : Twentieth century military recording project: World War Two Coastal Batteries
Source details :
Page(s) : 85
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Built 1796
Monument End Date : 1796
Monument Start Date : 1796
Monument Type : Coastal Battery
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Remodelled 1847
Monument End Date : 1847
Monument Start Date : 1847
Monument Type : Coastal Battery
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Remodelled 1860-9
Monument End Date : 1869
Monument Start Date : 1860
Monument Type : Coastal Battery, Caponier
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : First World War
Display Date : Disarmed by 1914
Monument End Date : 1914
Monument Start Date : 1914
Monument Type : Coastal Battery
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Second World War
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Coastal Battery
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Kent)
External Cross Reference Number : TQ67SE 1194
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 67 SE 63
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1554258
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1548006
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1548039
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1470603
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1547920
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1547920
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1547569
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1547986
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1548071
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, LANDSCAPES OF WAR RECORDING PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: HOO PENINSULA LANDSCAPE PROJECT NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2010-09-01
End Date : 2012-03-01