Steep Holm Island

Brean Down Avenue, Weston-super-Mare, UK
Posted on October 13, 2022 / 9
Listing Type : Defence Line
Location : England

The Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom reported in 1860 and recommended a string of fortifications to protect the Bristol Channel.  These included batteries or forts on Steep Holm, Flat Holm, at Brean Down and Lavernock Point.

Work on Steep Holm Island was carried out between 1866 and 1867.  Fifty local and Irish Labourers were used and the facing stones were brought in from South Wales.  All the building materials to build the barracks and batteries were winched up the cliff at South Landing and then hauled up to the contour path (about 200 feet).  Limestone from Steep Holm itself was used for backing and infilling.

The rainwater collection was from the roof of the barracks and held in an underground reservoir with a capacity of 49,000 gallons.

Six separate gun batteries were built between 1866 and 1871 around the Island. Ten 7-inch Mark III RML guns of seven tons were mounted in 1871 (1882?).  Two of these batteries, Rudder Rock and Tombstone, had a single gun while the remaining four batteries each had a pair of guns in separate barbette emplacements.  Each battery had its’ own underground cartridge and shell stores.  The Batteries built were at:

Rudder Rock Battery with a single 7-inch RML gun and the shell and cartridge magazines built to the rear.

Laboratory Battery had two 7-inch RML guns which both survive on site.  The magazines have survived but all the facing stone has been removed.

Split Rock Battery mounted two 7-inch RML guns in two separate barbette emplacements.  The cartridge and shell magazines were underground to the rear of the emplacements.

Tombstone Battery mounted a single 7-inch RML, with its’ own cartridge and shell magazines.

Summit Battery at 250 feet above sea level.  It originally mounted two 7-inch RML guns, with underground shell and cartridge magazine.

Garden Battery was originally built with two 7-inch RML guns and the usual two magazines.

Boundary Stone Number 26

There are a number of Boundary Stones dotted around the Island and it is suspected that a few remain to be found in the bush.

Boundary Stone Number 1

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