East Tilbury Battery

Tilbury & East Tilbury

Situated just half a mile away from Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury Battery, was constructed from 1887-93 and supplemented Coalhouse Fort as part of the Thames’ coastal defence system. It housed six 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.

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The battery was decommissioned in 1913 and later sold to a local farmer in 1930, for £1200. He used the site as an unofficial air-raid shelter during the Second World War, but the site has hardly been used since. The emplacements and magazines beneath are still extant as are some casemated barrack rooms and other buildings.

The present condition of the site is very good with many of the original stencilled signs remaining. The rest of the site is heavily overgrown and hard to locate the various areas – not so good for us, but this has kept the site secluded and protected from vandalism for many years. The site is on private land so please seek permission before entering.

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