Beacon Hill Fort

Beacon Hill Avenue, Harwich, UK
Posted on May 16, 2021 / 22
Listing Type : Coastal Battery
Location : England

Beacon Hill Fort was built on a peninsular that had originally been used to a Tudor Blockhouse.  Initially the site was used for a practice battery, before a completely new fortification was built.  Work on the new coastal defence battery began in 1889 and it was completed in 1892.  Beacon Hill Fort was designed to work in cooperation with Landguard Fort on the opposite side of the channel. In 1892 Beacon Hill Fort mounted:

  • One 10-inch BL gun
  • One 6-inch BL gun in a disappearing (HP) mount
  • Two 4.7-inch BL guns

The gun emplacements and layout of the battery followed the basic Twydall Profile principles, attempting to conceal the positions with a low natural profile.

In 1894 a Practice Battery for three 64-pdr RML guns was built in front of the 10-inch gun emplacement.  The following year two 3-pdr QF guns were added adjacent to the 4.7-inch guns.  In 1901 and additional 6-inch BL gun was added.  By 1911, as a result of the Owen Committee (1904-5), Beacon Hill Battery mounted:

  • Two 6-inch Mark VII gun on CPII mounts, one replacing the 10-inch and the other replacing the old HP 6-inch
  • Two 4.7-inch QF guns

The design of the 4.7-inch gun emplacements, with a short flight of steps to the rear, is almost identical to the 6-inch emplacements built about the same time at Wolseley Battery in Malta.

At the same time a Position Finding Station and searchlight emplacement were built on the perimeter of the Fort.  The 4.7-inch QF guns and 3-pdr QF guns were primarily for the protection of the submarine minefield.

In the later part of the 19th Century (1892) the land defences for the battery were remodelled using the Twydall Profile.    This defence line continued to be used during World War 2 when a Spigot Mortar Position and pillboxes were added to the defences.

Much of the original fort remains, despite extensive remodelling of the site during World War 2.

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