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Fort Widley

A Grade II* Listed Building in Cosham, City of Portsmouth

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Latitude: 50.8537 / 50°51'13"N

Longitude: -1.0684 / 1°4'6"W

OS Eastings: 465675

OS Northings: 106434

OS Grid: SU656064

Mapcode National: GBR BCK.DPZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 86NV.1MP

Plus Code: 9C2WVW3J+FM

Entry Name: Fort Widley

Listing Date: 30 October 1969

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1387128

English Heritage Legacy ID: 475032

Location: Cosham, Portsmouth, PO6

County: City of Portsmouth

Electoral Ward/Division: Cosham

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Portsmouth

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Portsdown Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth

Tagged with: Fort

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774-1/2/85 Fort Widley


Fort. c1860. By William Crossman (Capt. Royal Engineers). Red
brick in English bond, flint, stone dressings. Roofs concealed
by earth. Main elevation facing road has to barrack block a
brick chimney stack at far left and right with 3 evenly spaced
at centre.
PLAN: massive polygonal trace plan surrounded on 3 sides by
wide dry moat with scarp and counterscarp walls in flint set
between bays of brick piers with round relieving arches.
Extensive earthworks to ramparts with gun emplacements and
expense magazines set within earthworks. Projecting into rear
facing moat (north) is a brick caponier with embrasures at
centre and to left and right corners (west and east).
Underground gallery cut through chalk runs from centre of
barrack block leading to underground magazine and thence to a
spiral staircase with ammunition hoist rising up to parade
level. From spiral staircase, 3 underground galleries lead to
centre caponier and west and east mortar batteries.
Barrack block 2 storeys 13 bays (1/1/3/1/3/3/2/3/2/3/1/1).
Stable block 1-storey 14 bays (2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2).
EXTERIOR: main entrances, barracks, stores and stable blocks
are positioned on side facing Portsdown Hill road. The main
entrances to left and right of barrack block are approached by
inclined roads up to high level. Each of the 2 openings are
set within a thick brick curtain wall with Norman style
entrance. Stone round arch, moulded dripstone with dropped
bosses engraved with Crown and V.R. insignia, flanking
attached stone columns with scalloped capitals and bases. To
left of right entrance and right of left entrance are 4, and
on opposing sides 3, stepped and splayed embrasures each set
under a flat stone arch. Brick castellated parapet with, on
rear face, a stone slabbed firing platform supported on
cast-iron cantilevered brackets with attached railings. To
right of right entrance is the 1-storey guardhouse and stores
block with 4 small paired 9-pane metal casements, each set
under a gauged brick segmental arch. To right are 4 wide
openings each set under a flat stone arch with C20 metal
shutters, stone coped brick parapet. Further right are 7
similar openings set within a projecting slated lean-to wing.
To right of projecting wing is a similar opening with
embrasures on the right. Parapet splays down to top of escarp

wall. At centre the barrack block from lower road level has
flanking projecting wings. Centre part 9-bays wide has ground
floor window openings blinded with brickwork. First floor
windows follow through with on far left bay 1 and to right
bays 3, 4, 6, 7 and 9, each bay has a group of three windows
comprising two 8-pane 2-leaf recessed casements with rounded
brick jambs set under flat stone lintel with stone sill.
Similar single casement to Bay 2. On right is a similar window
with larger 4-pane casement except that windows to bays 3 and
8 are set under a gauged brick segmental arch. Similar paired
casements to bays 5 and 8. Rounded stone band, brick parapet
with stone coping, embrasure to centre and left and right
flanks. Each of the projecting flanking wings is splayed
inwards 2-bays wide, each bay with paired recessed 4-pane
casements to each floor set under flat stone arches. Each
inward return is 2 bays wide, each bay with 3 grouped windows
similar to centre part. Entrances to barrack block are at rear
with four 2-leaf boarded doors and overlight to each floor,
approached by stone steps to dry moat area and concrete
bridges over moat to upper level. To left of left (west)
entrance is a 1-storey stable block (converted c1913). Each
bay has paired casements each set under a gauged brick
segmental arch. From left are four 9-pane wood casements, then
ten 12-pane wood casements, then two 9-pane metal casements,
two 12-pane wood casements and ten 9-pane metal casements.
Stone coped brick parapet which on far left splays down to top
of Scarp wall.
INTERIOR: most of the items in fireplaces, joinery, stable
partitions are intact.
HISTORY: part of Palmerston's defences, initiated in
anticipation of a war with France.
Scheduled Ancient Monument.
(Portsmouth City Museums: Corney A: Fort Widley and the Great
Forts on Portsdown: Portsmouth; Lloyd DW: Buildings of
Portsmouth and its Environs: Portsmouth: 1974-: 80, 81; The
Buildings of England: Pevsner N & Lloyd DW: Hampshire and the
Isle of Wight: Harmondsworth: 1967-: 387, 388).

Listing NGR: SU6610802158

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