List entry

List entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

Name: FORT ALBERT

List entry Number: 1291552

Location

FORT ALBERT

The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County District District Type Parish
Isle of WightUnitary AuthorityFreshwater

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II*

Date first listed: 28-Mar-1994

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 393095

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

FRESHWATER

SZ38NW CLIFF END 1354-0/4/207 Fort Albert

II* .

Former Artillery fort, 1854 and attached torpedo house, 1886, with alteration 1940s and conversion to residence 1970s-80s. rick foundations and superstructure with granite base, additions of 1940s and 1970s-80s in blockwork or concrete; all now rendered except for western face. Original block is a broad irregular chevron in plan, pointing west. Three storeys surmounted by a warhead. Above this now rise a lift shaft (1970s) to serve a smaller fourth storey of flat-roofed buildings in the centre, constructed for anti-aircraft purposes 1940s, terminated by 2 direction towers. Prominent 1980s addition with slate false pitches attached to north of northern turret. Masking the eastern return of the original build at the north end is the single-storey torpedo house, with mass concrete roof shallowly pitched against fort, covering a brick half-vault. Winding room beyond this is flat-roofed. The massive walls are pierced by cambered-headed gunports (to seaward) and masket loops (to landward) which are now glazed (1970s-80s). Some of these retain granite sills with sunk margins. To landward, where render conceals all detail, only 2 storeys are visible. The southern end of this face is treated as one bay with tripartite windows on each floor, then come 2 bays of simple openings, all these being taller than to seaward, then a gate-tower with small windows over the plain first floor entrance. Lift shaft in line with gate-tower in similar idiom. Re-entrant angle with the northern end of this front is filled by the ancillary rooms of the torpedo house, now converted to a circulation area. Wallhead is a covered gallery with small musket loops and sloping crown terminating in bartisans. The northern end of this front was treated as a single bay but is now largely concealed by the torpedo house. This is also rendered, over brick, and has no external features of note except on its northern side where large modern sliding doors mark the storage area, and the small projection beyond the north wall of the fort shows the outline of the arch through which the torpedoes were launched. The northern facade is of two bays, the ports now blocked at ground floor level. The granite base shows a descending sequence of housings for the sleepers of the Brennan torpedo launch rail, now dismantled. At the wallhead is a cantilevered former searchlight position of the 1940s. The western facade is of seven bays, the ground floor ports blocked. Souther facade of two bays. The INTERIOR was divided into seven brick compartments on each floor but has now been substantially altered in conversion to residential use. The ports have splayed inner reveals in two stages. The torpedo house has a semi-vaulted recess cut out of the foot of the fort wall and rods inset into the vaulting; the passage to the winding room has rectangular sinkings in its walls; all are presumably connected to the operation of the wire-guided Brennan torpedo. It stands over the original moat, which allowed construction of subterranean chambers that may survive. History: built on an artificial island to defend the western approach to Portsmouth, opposite Hurst Castle, New Forest D, Lymington CP, Hants (qv), which was strengthened at the same time. Intended to house 29 guns in four tiers, it was among the last gun-towers constructed in England and was rapidly rendered obsolete by advances in gunnery. In 1886 it was chosen as one of our UK locations for the Brennan wire-guided torpedo which had a range sufficient to close the strait. This too became obsolete and was dismantled in 1906. Small guns only were mounted on the fort which was finally closed in 1957. Important as a late example of its type and for the Brennan installation. A Cantwell and P Sprack, Solent .. Papers No 2 (Fortress Study Group, 1986).

Listing NGR: SZ3296089072

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Cantwell, A, Sprack, P, Solent Papers, (1986)

National Grid Reference: SZ 32960 89072

Map


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This copy shows the entry on 25-Oct-2014 at 12:13:06.