History of Fort Gilkicker
Fort Gilkicker was built between 1863 and 1871 as part of Prime Minister Lord Palmerstone’s fortifications of Portsmouth Harbour against the French. The building is semi-circular and faces out towards the Solent. It contains twenty two gun casements, protected by 14 feet thick granite walls. During WWII, the guns were moved onto the roof as the threat of invasion came from the sky. The Fort was disarmed in 1956 and used for storage until 1999.
Fort Gilkicker is seen and signposted clearly from the road. Access to the beach nearby is a popular spot for dog-walkers. At the front of the Fort are the main doors with a hand painted “Fort Gilkicker” sign above. Tall fences and barbed wire surround the Fort. In previous visits there had been a security hut with guard present. However on this trip it seemed that the security was no longer present and entry was easy- through a hole in the fencing.
The Fort’s future
Fort Gilkicker is a Grade II listed building. Since 1999 there have been numerous efforts to convert the site into luxury living, but so far these have all fallen through. After a major fire in March 2019, Gilkicker was sold for £5.5million. The current plan is to turn it into 22 three-storey townhouses and 4 apartments. with panoramic views of Solent water and the Isle of Wight. Once completed these are expected to be worth over £1 million each. Fort Gilkicker is a really impressive site and a highly enjoyable explore as there were so many unexpected preserved features still to see.
Update 2023: Since this visit construction work has begun on the site, aiming to convert it into luxury housing.
Last Updated on 17 November 2021 by Michael