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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Type 22 Pillboxes – Norfolk

October 22, 2010 | Posted in coastal erosion, eccles, Happisburgh, Norfolk, Pillbox, sea defences, type 22, WW2 | By

Came across these whilst on a recent Road Trip, a couple of rather sorry looking Type 22 Pillboxes on the North Norfolk Coast. One had been built into the Sea Defences and the other had fallen upside down off a clifftop…The reason for this is the rather pathetic looking Sea Defences that were installed in the 1950’s, the cliffs lose 2 meters a year in erosion from the North Sea.

Next to fall in are several houses and then a lifeboat station…

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