Fort Matilda

Fort Matilda Place, Greenock, UK
Posted on April 3, 2023 / 12
Listing Type : Coastal Battery
Location : Scotland

Fort Matilda was primarily built during the Napoleonic Wars, although completed until 1819.  Together with Dumbarton Castle on the opposite side of the River Clyde, if helped defend the approaches to Glasgow’s dockyards.

Originally the battery was armed with eleven smooth bore guns.  In 1858 the whole battery was remodelled to mount eight 10-inch SB guns.  Between 1881 and 1894 three of the SB guns were removed and replaced with two 64-pdr RML guns and a single 80-pdr RML.  From 1894 there were three 64-pdr RML guns and two 6-pdr QF guns protecting the minefield. The Fort Matilda Submarine Mining Establishment (SME) was built here in 1886.

Between 1902 and 1905 the Battery was upgraded to mount two 4.7-inch BL guns.  The underground works between the two gun pits were protected by 5ft 6-inches of concrete, 3ft 6-inches of sand and 6-inches of earth.  The Battery also had two Defence Electric Lights on the foreshore to provide night illumination.

The site has now been lost to residential development.  The South and East boundary walls survive in parts and boundary markers ‘4’ and ‘5’ can still be seen.  The SME pier also survives.

The land to the West was Admiralty Property and this was adjacent to the Torpedo Factory.

The adjacent Fort Log for Fort Matilda was prepared by the late David Moore of his website www.victorianfort.co.uk.  Click on the image to enlarge.

Fort Matilda Log


A short history of Fort Matilda, prepared by Joseph McGreer can be downloaded on the adjacent link button.  This paper includes an image of the battery with eight guns.

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