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Thread: Liverpool Forts and Coastal Defences

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Default Liverpool Forts and Coastal Defences

    Developing out of and growing from the Bathing Houses thread. I thought the town defenses deserved its own place for discussion. I decided not to start at the fort at perch rock, New Brighton, but its opposite number on the Liverpool side of the estuary.

    The North Fort, Liverpool, was situated on the outer river wall between Huskissson and Canada Docks, with its guns trained towards the Mersey estuary mouth. It is recorded in the 1848 OS map (see below), and featured in a much later issue of The Illustrated London News, in 1888. The print is depicting the southern end of the fort, nearest the town.

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    The North Fort, Liverpool, as shown in the Giant Panorama of Liverpool in 1865 by the artists, Jackson & Sulman. [courtesy of the LRO]

    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Thanks, Daz. Almost talking to you in real time here. Looking at the plan of the fort, I'd say this is a typical later 19th century fort, with thick walls and openings for cannons. I'm pretty sure what would have been there in the late 18th century would have been different, and made for lighter cannons of the day. I have a repro copy of that 1865 panorama of the city by the way, as it is included in the Scouse Press historical prints and maps collection that was published some years ago.

    Chris
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    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    Again Dazza,some good investigation,and pic's! Looking at the aerial shot made me realise the site of the fort was much nearer to the river,than I thought,previously! The remains of massive foundations,on the south side, of what is now a nature reserve,presumably being part of the dock system?

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Hi Chris, thanks for the info.

    I have a 1835 map which doesn't record this particular fort; the construction, presumably, would've been tied to the Huskisson Dock works - with the dock opening, c.1852. It does however show another fort south of its position, close to where Boundary Street and the Dock Road is, close to the present day Nelson Dock. I'm assuming the forts had to migrate north with the expanding dock system and city boundaries.

    Hi Steve, I think you're right. It looks like part of the fort site is still there. I wonder if any thing remains of the wall?

    Cheers,

    Daz
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Senior Member Doris Mousdale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dazza View Post
    Hi Chris, thanks for the info.

    I have a 1835 map which doesn't record this particular fort; the construction, presumably, would've been tied to the Huskisson Dock works - with the dock opening, c.1852. It does however show another fort south of its position, close to where Boundary Street and the Dock Road is, close to the present day Nelson Dock. I'm assuming the forts had to migrate north with the expanding dock system and city boundaries.

    Hi Steve, I think you're right. It looks like part of the fort site is still there. I wonder if any thing remains of the wall?

    Cheers,

    Daz
    Get Time Team in to do a 3 day dig.

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    Excellent Daz,

    Many thanks
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    Interesting thread Dazza,

    Steve I thought the nature reserve (Bird Sanctuary) was further North near the seaforth dock timber berth, if you go through the freeport gateway and drive towards the the radar tower its on your right, Is there any old defences in that area ?

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    Thanks Dazza for this interesting thread.

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    Brill dazza. Initially, I thought that it may have been where the Bootle Bull fog horn was sounded from later on but found this:

    http://www.mycetes.co.uk/a/page41.html


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    Updated weekly with old and new pics.

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    Thanks again, Daz.

    The fort shown in the 1888 engraving militarily speaking is a block house more than a full-scale fort -- a miniature version of Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor with thick walls and sizeable cannons akin to the American made Columbiads, the high tech armament of the day.

    All the best

    Chris
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    Senior Member johnny blue's Avatar
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    Here is a pic I took middle of last summer, its looking down the dock wall North with the Huskisson shed on the right,Wellington Dock on my right. You can see what looks like old stone debris in the river, I have often wondered what it was, now then Dazza could it possibly remains of an old buildingClick image for larger version. 

Name:	dock wall 2.jpg 
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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    Brill dazza. Initially, I thought that it may have been where the Bootle Bull fog horn was sounded from later on but found this:

    http://www.mycetes.co.uk/a/page41.html

    .
    Hi Ged, I thought the Bootle lighthouse was an interesting subject in its own right, so I did a bit of digging and posted the results here:

    http://www.yoliverpool.com/forum/sho...tle-Lighthouse


    ---------- Post added at 09:39 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:31 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny blue View Post
    Here is a pic I took middle of last summer, its looking down the dock wall North with the Huskisson shed on the right,Wellington Dock on my right. You can see what looks like old stone debris in the river, I have often wondered what it was, now then Dazza could it possibly remains of an old buildingClick image for larger version. 

Name:	dock wall 2.jpg 
Views:	488 
Size:	404.2 KB 
ID:	23946 , .
    Hi Johnny blue, and thanks for your photo. It makes for an interesting question: whether anything remains down there of the fort defenses? They would be easy to spot, as they where set at an angle to the dock wall. We need more photos to be certain though.

    ---------- Post added at 09:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:39 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    Again Dazza,some good investigation,and pic's! Looking at the aerial shot made me realise the site of the fort was much nearer to the river,than I thought,previously! The remains of massive foundations,on the south side, of what is now a nature reserve,presumably being part of the dock system?
    Hi Steve, I would be surprized if anything is left, but as part of the site remains, there's always a chance. We'd need to get more photos to be certain though.

    ---------- Post added at 09:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:42 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    Thanks again, Daz.

    The fort shown in the 1888 engraving militarily speaking is a block house more than a full-scale fort -- a miniature version of Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor with thick walls and sizeable cannons akin to the American made Columbiads, the high tech armament of the day.
    Thanks Chris, we're building up a picture of the cities defenses, and good to have your expert appraisal on board. I've got some more information on the fort closer to George's Dock, which I'll post later on.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny blue View Post
    Interesting thread Dazza,

    Steve I thought the nature reserve (Bird Sanctuary) was further North near the seaforth dock timber berth, if you go through the freeport gateway and drive towards the the radar tower its on your right, Is there any old defences in that area ?
    That's true,but the couple of times that I visited the reserve,you couldn't help notice the very substantial foundations(many feet thick!) of something I rightly,or wrongly,guessed was for some sort of military type building,such as a fort! I'd read of such a building,which was complementary to the fort in New Brighton,for defence of the river approaches.
    I had a quick look on google maps,and it's apparent that there have been some major changes to the shoreline,during the history of the docks development,and the general area around Seaforth,seems to involve a large reclaimed area.

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Liverpool Fort (c.1781-1820) was sited close to George's Dock. It is clearly shown on the maps below. I've also highlighted the only image I could find of it, which is from a Michael Angelo Rooker engraving of the Mersey and Liverpool.

    The Fort stood on the site from 1781-1820. It was equiped with 'eighteen and thirty-two pounders', source: also Richard Brooke's Liverpool As It Was During the Last Quarter of the Eighteenth Century, pp.371. Also, Dr William Moss, writing in, The Liverpool Guide, goes further to say that 'a strong guard of soldiers is always kept here. It is open for public recreation...[affording]...a very adventageous view down the river...from which point the rock point may be very distinctly observed'. pp.83





    This is a Michael Angelo Rooker engraving [above & below] The South East Prospect of LEVERPOOL, taken from Seacombe Boat-house, dated, 1816. The fort is highlighted by the red rectangle. It looks as though there may be castilations on the wall, or they could be the town's canon's sitting proud of it? This view was taken as they started construction on Prince's Dock (which is not yet visible). The Fort would only remain in position for another 4 years, when it was demolished, in 1820, to make way for finishing the dock, which opened the following year.

    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Great pic's Dazza, one of which shows Liverpool gaol,in Great Howard st,which also disappeared soon after!

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