Abandoned Kent: Grain Tower Battery

Usually the main concern when exploring an abandoned building is whether the fences will be penetrable and what security might be on site. Grain Tower Battery was a bit different, with no fencing and no security, access is controlled in a different way. Only reachable by walking across a crumbling causeway at low tide, timing was key on this explore.

Grain Tower Battery lies a few hundred metres offshore in the River Medway, east of Grain, disturbing the otherwise peaceful and flat landscape. Built in 1850, the gun tower protected the important ports of Chatham and Sheerness from the French naval threat at the time.

The tower was already obsolete by the time of its completion due to the rapid improvements of technology meaning it’s defences couldn’t withstand modern artillery. By the end of the 19th century the tower had gained a new lease of life as a defence against raids by torpedo boats. It was used in both world wars to defend the Thames and Medway estuaries with quick firing guns. It’s location was ideally suited for this, and substantial alterations were made to support this new use.

The fort was upgraded prior to the outbreak of WW1 to accommodate two 4.7″ QF guns. In 1940 a two storey barrack block, a Battery Observation Post and a twin 6lb Quick Firing (QF) gun were added.

Today the tower sits decaying, being battered by the elements with no maintenance, having been decommissioned in 1956. It has been privately owned since 2005, and has seemingly been a party destination for locals in recent years.

Last Updated on 7 June 2022 by Michael

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