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Fort Gilkicker in Gosport, Hampshire

A very early start and an 80 mile drive to Hampshire, this was our first location of the day.

Fort Gilkicker in Gosport

Some history from

Fort Gilkicker is a historic Palmerston fort built at the eastern end of Stokes Bay, Gosport, Hampshire to dominate the key anchorage of Spithead. It was erected between 1863 and 1871 as a semi-circular arc with 22 casemates, to be armed with 5 12″ guns, 17 10″ guns and 5 9″ guns. The actual installed armament rather differed from this. In 1902 the RML guns were replaced by 2 9.2″ and 2 6″ BL guns, and before the First World War the walls were further strengthened with substantial earthwork embankments.

Later use
The Own Committee decided in 1905 that the heavy armament of Gilkicker, Stokes Bay and Browndown were only of use against ships that had forced the outer defences and such ships would be deterred by the inevitable damage they would incur. The 9.2 inch guns at Gilkicker and Browndown were therefore superfluous. The 6-inch guns at Gilkicker and at No.2 battery of the Stokes Bay Lines were also superfluous and ineffective. These guns were to be removed. A 1906 armament return shows that the 9.2 inch and 6 inch guns were still mounted but to be reduced. Corrections to August 1907 show them as dismounted. The barrack block was altered 1908-1910 by converting it to married quarters for Royal Engineers at nearby Fort Monckton. In 1916 the fort was armed with an early type of Anti-Aircraft gun, a 3-inch Quick Fire gun on a high angle mounting. This was placed in the eastern 9.2inch B.L. position on top of the fort. Trinity House had a small observation post on Fort Gilkicker after 1939. During World war Two the fort was briefly armed with a 40mm Bofors gun and Gun Laying Radar was fitted outside the fort to direct the guns at the nearby Gilkicker Anti-Aircraft gun site. In the build-up to D-day a signals unit occupied the fort and during the Normandy landings on June 9th over 1,000 signals were recorded for the day needing routing to over 1300 addresses. Later an average of 800 signals to almost 1,000 addresses were routed via Gilkicker. In 1956 Coast Defence was abolished and the fort was then used by the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works as a plumbers workshop. In November 1986 Hampshire County Council bought the fort, but not its surrounding earth bank. The fort was used as a building materials store and when proposals to restore and convert the fort for modern housing were explored in 1995 the fort was emptied.

Future of the fort
The fort is currently (2012) awaiting restoration and conversion to modern apartments by Askett Hawk. As a Grade II* Listed Building its future is secure for the present. It can be visited and viewed only from the outside and can be approached along the coast from Stokes Bay or by walking down the access road through Stokes Bay golf course. It is on the Buildings at Risk Register.


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