|Medway, Kent, England|
Fort Darnet in the River Medway
|Built by||Captain Siborne, R.E.,|
|Materials||Concrete skirts and brickwork|
|Official name||Fort Darnet, Darnet Ness|
|Designated||1 November 1963|
Building started on the island in 1870 and then finished in 1872. Originally designed for two tiers of guns mounted in a circle, with a boom strung between them, there were many problems with subsidence, and after extensive cost overruns the forts were completed in 1872 with one tier, and 11 guns : a mixture of 8 9-inch and 3 7-inch rifled muzzle-loaders. The boom was not implemented though there were plans to mine the channel if thought needed. It was originally designed for a garrison of up to 100 men.
The forts were used for gunnery practice until one of the guns cracked in its casemates and this was reported in ‘The Chatham Observer’ on 25 January 1879.
The forts were never used in anger, and were disarmed before the First World War. In the Second World War the fort was used as observation posts, with platforms and pillboxes built on top. The fort is still in fair condition, however the magazine level seems to have been deliberately flooded to minimise access and vandalism. The island can be freely visited by boat, though the landing is muddy.
Up to the 1980s, the island was used for picnicing and other leisure pursuits.
It is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.
- Crowdy, R, Medway's Island Forts, (1979)
- Gulvin, K R, The Medway Forts, (1976), 18-19
- Smith, V T C, Strategic Study of Kents Defences - Fort Darnet , (1999)
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