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Coalhouse Fort, Tilbury

#9 of 19 in Things to do in Thurrock
Coalhouse Fort is an artillery fort built in the 1860s to guard the lower Thames from seaborne attack. It stands at Coalhouse Point in Essex on the north bank of the river, at a location that was vulnerable to raiders and invaders. It was the last in a series of fortifications dating back to the 15th century and was the direct successor to a smaller mid-19th century fort built on the same site. Constructed during a period of tension with France, its location on marshy ground caused problems from the start and led to a lengthy construction process. The fort was equipped with a variety of large-calibre artillery guns and the most modern defensive facilities at the time, including shell-proof casemates protected by granite facing and cast-iron shields. However, its lengthy construction and the rapid pace of artillery development at the time meant that it was virtually obsolete for its original purpose within a few years of its completion.The fort's armament was revised several times during its seventy years of military usage, as its role evolved in the river's defensive system. It was initially a front-line fortification, supported by Shornemead Fort and Cliffe Fort located to the south and east respectively on the Kent shore. Over time, as batteries and forts further downriver became the front line of the Thames defences, Coalhouse Fort was stripped of its main weapons and its fabric was altered to support smaller quick-firing guns intended to be used against fast-moving surface and aerial targets. Its last military usage was as a training facility for a few years after the Second World War.
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Coalhouse Fort Reviews
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57 reviews
  • August 7, 2017
    The grounds around Coalhouse fort are ideal for a picnic and a day out with the children. Plenty of area to play. Good walks to the Thames to watch the ships go by. There is a cafe which sells very go...  more »
  • August 3, 2017
    This is a great place if you like a nice quite walk. You can walk along the seawall. Peaceful and clean.  more »
  • July 30, 2017
    Went to see the fort and the classic cars which were being shown that day. Unfortunately on that day contractors decided to close the road and I was only half a mile away. However I followed the diver...  more »
  • This old fort is not often open but it is lovely to walk round the outside next to the Thames, beautiful marsh beds and lots of wildlife, very very quiet. There is a cafe open every day except Mondays, which has lovely friendly staff and a good range of snacks and we'll worth a visit.
  • Beautiful setting and grounds. Fatastic history being one of the finest Victorian casement forts in the UK. Inside the fort only open at certain times so worth checking although grounds open all year.
  • Quiet peaceful great place to come get away. Fort is great
  • Lovely place. We only found it through playing Pokémon Go funnily enough; but I'm so glad we did as we visit regularly and love the long walk and scenery in this amazing park.
  • Our visit was very good. The tour wasn't very long and you don't get to see a lot of the fort. The tour guide was very nice and gave a lot of information about the history of the fort.

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