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The Coalhouse Fort Project was started in the 1980's to maintain, restore and promote Coalhouse Fort. The Fort was built between 1861 and 1874 and remained in service until 1956 when Coastal Defence was abolished.
How to Find Us
This page shows directions to Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury, Essex, RM18 8PB. Directions are shown by road, rail and bus.
Membership Information
How to join the Coalhouse Fort Project Team.
Fort Plans
Plans of the fort showing magazines, casemates and roof positions.
Recommended Reading List
This list, although not exhaustive, lists some of the books that cover Coastal Defences in England and Wales. Some are out of print due to their age but they can be found in libraries and second hand book shops.
Recommended Booklets
As with the reading list it is not exhaustive. Most forts such as Nothe in Weymouth, Newhaven in Sussex and Landguard in Sufffolk all produce their own leaflets and books obout themselves. ISBN numbers are shown where available.
Links Page
This page includes links to other sites I have found useful in studying forts and associated defences.
Guided tour
These pictures follow the route taken by the guided tour. The tours take about an hour, during which you will hear an abridged history of the fort from its conception until 1956 when coastal defence was abolished.
Pictures From 1983
This gallery contains pictures of the fort from 1983 when the restoration was begun. It also includes comparison pictures from 2006 and will include photos of various events throughout the year.
Pictures From 1984
These pictures show the progress made after one years work by a dedicated group of volunteers
Pictures From 1985
These pictures were taken in December 1985 and show further improvements made in the previous year.
Pictures From 2005
These pictures were taken during my first year as a guide at Coalhouse Fort. They show the various defences installed during the Victorian Period, WWI and WWII.
Shoeburyness Gunnery School
The Shoeburyness Gunnery School was closed down a number of years ago to make way for a housing estate. Some of the emplacements that were, for many years on MOD land can now be reached.
Shoeburyness Heavy Quick Firing Battery
This battery would have mounted two 6" breech loaders and two 12lb quick firing guns. The guns were served with two shell lifts, one for each gun feeding from magazines below. Both guns were served by a common cartridge lift.
Shornemead Fort, Kent
These pictures show the remains of Shornemead Fort, one of the sister forts to Coalhouse. It is similar in size, but a mirror image being on the other side of the Thames. It was largely destroyed with explosives used by the Army School of Demolitions.
New Tavern Fort, Gravesend, Kent
New Tavern was built to protect London from invasion by an enemy using the River Thames. Henry VIII had a blockhouse built nearby c1539 to cross fire with others at West Tilbury, East Tilbury, Milton and Higham.
Maunsell Army Sea Forts
These pictures were taken on the 21st September 2003 from the Pocahontas out of Tilbury Riverside.
Satellite pictures from Google Earth.
These pictures show a number of Forts and Batteries on the Isle of Wight and around Portsmouth viewed from space illustrating the various layouts and forms these structures take.
More satellite pictures
These Google Earth satellite pictures are of the Forts and Batteries in the Plymouth area.
Landguard Fort
Landguard Fort is situated at the mouth of the River Orwell opposite Harwich Redoubt in Essex. As Felixstowe is an important deep water terminal the area has always been well defended
Newhaven Fort, East Sussex
Newhaven is a Palmerston fort built as a result of the 1859 Royal Commission and was the first to use a large ammount of concrete in its construction. It is run by Lewes Council and is open to the public for a number of weeks each year.
Newhaven Fort, East Sussex
With so many things to see at Newhaven, I have decided to include another page of pictures,
Newhaven, East Sussex, Emergency Battery
These three gun emplacements lie approximately 800m to the West of Newhaven Fort. They were installed during WWII to mount 3 x 6" breech loaders. The battery is in very good condition with most of the original buildings intact but bricked up.
Puckpool Mortar Battery, Isle of Wight
A large and well preserved battery looking out across the Spit Banks between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Built between 1863 and 1865. Re-worked in 1889 and again between 1901 and 1945.
Brean Down Fort, Somerset
Brean Down Fort, Near Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset. One of 'Palmerston's Follies' built as a result of the 1859 Royal Commission.
High Angle Battery, Portland, Dorset
The High Angle Battery, Portland is situated outside Verne Citadel overlooking Weymouth Bay. The Battery was built to mount 9" Rifle Muzzle Loaders firing high angle shots to penertrate the thinner deck armour of the enemies ships
Wormhoudt Massacre Site
On Tuesday 28th May 1940, a number of young soldiers - mostly British - were massacred in cold blood by the SS of the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler.
V1 (flying bomb) Vengance weapon site, Hazebrouck
In the woods near Ebblinghem to the West of Hazebrouck, Northerm France are the remains of a V1 fixed launching ramp. The V1 (flying bomb) was launched against London and resulted in the deaths of over 6,000 people
Corton, Suffolk defences
As the East Coast was so heavily defended during WWII, a large number of structures have survived. Several pillboxes, a tank trap and an anti-tank gun emplacement can be found along the Corton Beaches.
Pictures of Coalhouse Fort
Photographs of Coalhouse showing: Depression Position Finder (Battery Observation Post): WWII Gun houses: Degausing monitor position: 1943 Bofors position: Loop-holed firing position:
Bradwell on Sea Defences, Dengie Peninsula, Essex
The Dengie Peninsula lies between the Rivers Blackwater and Crouch and is surrounded by a flood defence wall. As the coast is low laying it could have been an ideal landing area for an invasion. Bradwell also had an airfield between 1942-45.
Burnham on Sea Defences, Dengie Penninsula
The entrance to the river Crouch was protected by a number of pillboxes running East from Burnham. They were joined by a mine field control tower, still present and in good order. To the West of Burnham was an army camp, and a WWII cinema still stands.

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(All pictures on this site are copyright to Peter Appleton and Roy Reynolds)

RM18 8PB

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Just a Thought:

"If we fail to learn from history, then we will continue to make the same mistakes as our forefathers"

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Over a number of years, I have visited an assortment of Forts and Batteries all over Southern England. I will be adding pictures of these as well as pictures of pillboxes and tank traps that I have found during my travels. Where possible I will include a National Grid Reference.

Recent Updates (most recent at bottom)

28th March 2006

Following a successful visit to Newhaven Fort, Sussex I will be posting photos shortly of this impressive Palmerston Fort. Thanks also go to the staff for their enthusiasm and kind hospitality.

Page added to commemorate those who died at the Wormhoudt Massacre Site on 28th May 1940.

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Page added showing the V1 launch site in the woods near Hazebrouck, a site that is in remarkable condition despite allied bombing of the area.

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Updated Shornemead Fort page with some pictures taken around 1925

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More pictures from Shoeburyness showing the gun emplacements on the Heavy Quick Firing Battery.

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Series of pictures added showing some of the defences at Corton Beach, Suffolk.

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30th January 2009

Bradwell on Sea Defences, Dengie Peninsula, Essex

18th March 2009


Bois des Huit Rues V1 Site

Bois des Huit Rues V1 Site

The "ski slope" launch ramp can be seen in the top right corner of the picture between the edge of the woods and the fields above. None of the buildings can be seen from the air making it difficult to find by the British Bombers sent to look for the site.

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