Abandoned Hampshire: Fort Fareham

Interior View of Fort Fareham

Fort Fareham is an abandoned Palmerston Fort in Fareham, between Southampton and Portsmouth in Hampshire. The fort was completed in 1864, and is the only one of three proposed “Gosport Outer Line” forts to be built. The other two were never constructed due to budget cuts. These proposed forts were planned three miles in advance of the Gosport Advanced Line, strengthening defences between there and the forts at Portsdown Hill in Portsmouth. The Gosport Advanced Line was made up for five forts which were built between 1853 and 1863.

Fort Gilkicker and Hilsea Lines, are other Palmerston Forts nearby.

History of Fort Fareham

Fort Fareham was constructed between 1861 and 1864, costing just over £100,000. According to the Defence Committee in 1969, it was “skilfully constructed as regards stability and permanency and when completed according to the approved plans will be suited to the requirements of modern armaments, and when its ditch was filled with water would afford a fair amount of resistance to any attack to which it may be exposed.” The fort is an irregular polygon with a parade ground enclosed by casemates, and surrounded by a ditch.

The fort was built to add to the defences of the strategically important Portsmouth Dockyard. It was armed in 1868 and 1898. In 1902 most land forts were stood down, including Fort Fareham. It then continued to serve as a barrack until the end of WWII. From 1905 40 men of No. 23 Company Royal Garrison Artillery, and members of the 3rd. Battalion Oxfordshire Light Infantry were stationed there. During the Second Word War Fort Fareham was the headquarters for 124 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery and as headquarters for 410 battery, 45 Anti-Aircraft Brigade, 412 battery 65 Anti-Aircraft Brigade and 415 Battery 27th Anti-Aircraft Brigade, Royal Artillery.

Browndown battery was also built to defend Portsmouth Dockyard and the surrounding area, click to read more.

During the Cold War parts of the fort were used as Fareham Borough Emergency Centre, a control centre set to be used by the council in the event of a nuclear attack. The Emergency Centre was opened in the 1980’s, and located in old magazines and in the forts south west caponier (a covered passage). It also held an anti-aircraft operations room for Portsmouth and Southampton Gun Defended Area during this period.

The Fort Today

In 1965 it was decided that the fort was no longer required, and it was sold to Fareham District Council by the Ministry of Defence. Today Fort Fareham is an active business park, with multiple industrial units within its casemates. Much of the rest of the fort is crumbling and overgrown. The parapets and gun positions have been removed. In 1989 a fire caused damage to interior rood arches. In 2002 Fareham Council sold the property to London and City Estates, who manage the commercial units today.

With its rich naval history, there are plenty of abandoned places in and around Portsmouth, click here to view more.

Last Updated on 12 January 2022 by Michael

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