Verne High Angle Battery

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This view shows approximately one-fifth of the structure.

The Verne High Angle Battery is a derelict Victorian gun battery built in 1892 on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England. The battery is situated in the Verne area, close to the Verne Citadel. It is Grade II Listed,[1] and forms part of the Verne Citadel's scheduled monument status.[2]

History[edit]

A view inside one of the battery's underground magazine tunnels

The battery was built in 1892, a short distance south of the Verne Citadel with which would have formed part of the defence to protect Portland Harbour. Being down in a quarry the battery's guns were hidden from the enemy's view. The "high angle" that the RML 9 inch 12 ton guns fired at ensured shells dropped down to inflict maximum damage on the vulnerable upper decks of an enemy vessel. The guns were able to traverse through 360 degrees. Originally, positions were built for six guns, and later two additional pits were added though the guns were never fitted. The supply of shells were stored in two tunnel magazines, and between these was a troop shelter, laboratory, and two store buildings.[3]

With the invention of smaller craft like torpedo boats, the big guns were less likely to score a hit. The guns were eventually removed in 1906, and the battery decommissioned.[3] From 1918 the battery was used for storing field guns from France. In the 1960s one of the emplacements was used for testing the capsules in which nuclear material was transported.[4]

The battery has become a tourist attraction, and is the best preserved Battery of its type in the United Kingdom. The battery's grassy embankments also support an array of wildlife.[5] Various attempts from Weymouth and Portland Borough Council have been made over the years to seal off the battery's tunnels. The tunnels have gained the name 'The Ghost Tunnels' to locals of Portland.[5] The battery has been a target of vandalism, mainly graffiti, and has received little care and attention in recent years.[6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°33′29″N 2°26′00″W / 50.5581°N 2.4334°W / 50.5581; -2.4334