Verne High Angle Battery & Forbidden City (Portland Part 1)

December 6, 2013 | Posted in 1892, Anti-Aircraft Battery, cctv, coastal defences, D-Day, east weare, forbidden city, harbour, nubiles, pissed, portland, Quarry, RML Guns, road trip, Royal Navy, sea defences, verne, victorian forts, vomit | By

Gotta love agoodroadtrip and this certainly fell into that category. Already having not slept for 24 hours I collect Winch at 03:00am driving through a town full of pissedup18 yearoldnubiles sprawled across the streets in their own piss and vomit on the way before hitting the motorways for a 4 hour non stop blast to the South Coast and the Isle Of Portland where we hit one place after another before a 4 hour return journey eventually getting home at 23:30 on the following day.Winch’s estimations of ‘loads of holiday traffic’ proved unfounded and we rocked up at some stupid time of the morning when only the gulls were awake. He managed to catch someZZZ’s but I couldn’t so went for a mooch around Verne High Angle Battery.For those that don’t know its a derelict fort built in 1892 as part of our coastal defences. Originally it had six gun pits for 9″ RML guns (Mk VI high-angle muzzle loading gun) set at 70 degree angles but not long after two more pits were built. The guns could spin through 360 degrees and the shells were stored in two tunnel magazines fed by rail.

During WW2 it was used as an Anti-Aircraft Battery and to store ammo in preparation for D-Day. It’s very tucked away and easily missed being down in the base of an old Portland Stone quarry and at stupid O’Clock in the morning was nice and chilled.

I’ll be brutally honest though and say it didn’t really do it for me, as historically significant as it is and it being the best preserved Battery of its type in the UK I just can’t get excited about this sort of stuff so feel free to call me a neophyte or even a heathen…

But I was there, had nothing else to do and a camera so please enjoy some pix. If you want to read about this place in more detail (and with far more enthusiasm than me) take a look at the excellent work by David Moore at Victorian Forts  and in particular the following PDF: http://victorianforts.co.uk/pdf/datasheets/verneha.pdf

Later on we fought through thick undergrowth and comedy pallisade squeezes, past the many rumoured (non-existant) ‘CCTV cameras’ reported by some paranoid explorers we came across, to visit the curiously named Forbidden City AKA East Weare Battery.

It’s not Forbidden and its not a City, both of which set you up for a serious anticlimax.

East Weare Battery to use it’s correct name is another Coastal Battery built between 1862 and 1869 on the west of Portland Harbour. Unlike Verne High Angle Battery this one is virtually at sea level at the base of the Verne cliffs. It was designed with six batteries (A-F) mounting an intended total of 27 guns which were a mixture of 9 and 10 inch Breach Loaders. Amongst the battery’s are a mixture of other buildings – Detention Barracks, Gunners House, Artillery Stores, a redoubt, Battery Observation Post, Lamp Room etc. In 1915 the disused Battery D was handed over to the Navy for explosives storage in the magazine and much later during WW2 some of the gun pits were roofed over. In recent times both A and B Battery were used for Fire Training by the Navy and as a result are very damaged.

As previously stated, for more detailed info please checkout: http://www.victorianforts.co.uk/pdf/datasheets/eastweare.pdf

More from our Portland Road Trip coming soon…

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Wakerley Quarries – Partington Steel & Iron Co Ltd

August 1, 2011 | Posted in Bucyrus, Ironstone, LNWR, Partington, Quarry, Ruston, Wakerley | By

A departure from the normal program of events but I do have a soft spot for Industrial Archaeology so I hope you enjoy….Bell Bros Ltd (1911-1915)
Wakerley Ironstone Co. Ltd (from 1915)
Partington Steel & Iron Co. Ltd (from 1918)
Discussions with Bell Broshad began in October 1907 with some trial holes but quarrying did not start until November 1911. A siding agreement withLNWR (London and North Western Railway) was dated July 1913. The quarries ran for a short while before the lease surrendered and was taken over byWakerley Ironstone Co. Ltd from 1915. Gravity was used to help the loaded tubs of Ironstone reach the tipping dock and two horses hauled the empty tubs back to the pits. For some reason the earlier tipping dock was abandoned and a new one built at the eastern end of theLNWR sidings, possibly because of an improved gradient to the railway.During the operation of the quarry a row of four Calcining Kilns were built by prisoners-of-war and next to them an engine room containing a horizontal boiler. It’s believed the kilns were never actually used and in fact only two of the four were ever completed.

From 1918 and now in the hands of Partington Steel & Iron Co. Ltd the quarry was extended the opposite side of the Harringworth Road and the tramway tunneled underneath. Around this time a second tipping dock was added to the newer eastern one and this is evident today as the original one is faced with stone and the new addition is red brick. The quarry became mechanised in later life making use of a Bucyrus Class 14 Steam Shovel and a Ruston Steam Transporter.

The quarry closed somewhere around 1921, the track was taken up and the bridge under the road filled in, everything else was left which is unusual as normal practice is to restore the ground at closure. Today both tipping docks are clearly visible, as is the deep cutting of the quarry. The railway sidings adjacent to the LNWR main line are also evident and there are some remains of the weighbridge at the top of the ‘new’ tipping dock.

Sadly the Engine Room has crumbled but all four calcining kilns dominate the landscape for miles around and are in remarkable condition.

Apologies for the gratuitous use of Sunstars but my Tokina glass has a 9 bladed diaphragm which makes 18 pointed Sunstars so I couldn’t resist it…

Calcining Kilns
‘New’ twin Tipping Dock – original in stone, later addition in red brick
The next shot shows the original Tipping Dock (running from left to right towards the kilns on the center horizon). The treeline to the right of the photo is the Main Railway line and the long raised area from the camera to the kilns is the LNWR sidings.

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