Fort Brockhurst
Fort Brockhurst
A strikingly unusual moated fort of brick, Fort Brockhurst was built as part of a 19th century plan to defend Portsmouth Harbour. The keep is almost perfectly circular, defended by a moat on one side, with a large parade ground to the rear.
History
When the threat of a French invasion loomed in the middle of the 19th century the British government under Lord Palmerston responded by erecting a series of coastal forts. One of these was Fort Brockhurst, built to defend the naval port and dockyards at Portsmouth. Fort Brockhurst was one of 5 forts built to defend Portsmouth, known as the Gosport Advanced Lines.

Construction began in 1858 and the fort was finished in 1862. The design was a six-sided polygon, built low to the ground and defended by earthen ramparts reinforced with brick. Inside the polygonal earthwork was a circular keep, and the entire structure was surrounded by a wide moat.

A tunnel led beyond the moat to a triangular outer bastion. Three caponiers project into the moat to provide raking fire. The keep could only be reached by a drawbridge across the moat and then a sliding bridge across the interior. Under the ramparts are a series of casemates; chambers for storage, living quarters, and workshops.

What makes Fort Brockhurst so interesting is that very little of the fort has been altered. The gun ramps, moated keep, and parade ground are all very close to their original condition. You can easily see how the casements were made because bomb damage in WWII exposed some of the casement construction. The WWII bombing was the only action ever seen at Fort Brockhurst.

In the parade ground is a regimental building that now houses a museum covering the history of Portsmouth's defences.

Another of Portsmouth's harbour defences is just 2 miles away at Portchester Castle.