East Tilbury Battery

Hello everyone! This visit was a good one for BTP Liam and I and we got some good pictures too! The battery is located just half a mile away from Coalhouse Fort, in East Tilbury. The battery was constructed in 1887-93 and supplemented Coalhouse Fort as part of the Thames’ coastal defence system. It housed six 10 and 6 inch long range firing weapons, mounted on disappearing carriages. There was two six-pdr guns on the left and right most sides, and two heavy 10-pdr guns in the middle. The battery was quite innovative in that it used the new method of hoisting rounds up to the guns from underground tunnels, and it was also aimed down the Thames and not across it, signalling the advancement in range and accuracy that rifled breech-loading guns had, being able to shoot further than simply across the river. Another innovation was that a simple non-climbable spiked metal fence was used to secure its perimeter, rather than moats and ditches seen in Coalhouse Fort itself, and castles from as far back as 1,000 years ago.

The battery was decommissioned in 1913 and later sold to a local farmer for £1200 in 1930. He used it as an unofficial air raid shelter during the second world war. The emplacements and magazines beneath are still extant as are some casemated barrack rooms and other buildings. The present condition of the battery is very good, with many original stenciled signs still remaining in the underground parts although the whole site is heavily overgrown, making locating the various features very difficult. Today the battery still contains old magazines and emplacements. Original stenciled signs are still clearly visible within the tunnels and the barrack rooms. According to ‘Essex Ghost Hunters’ footsteps have been seen in the tunnel (ghosts)….

Getting into the battery was easy but finding our way around wasn’t quite as easy! It is around 140 years old and still remains pretty much unvandalised with its original painted wall signs and woodwork, despite lying only metres from a council estate! We visited the battery once in November 2012 and once again in February 2013 (when the main pictures and video is from). Believe it or not it was snowing quite heavily on the second visit – very late in Winter.

November 2012 Photographs:

October 2015 Photographs:

(Visit with Angus Easener and Michael Clark)

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