Named after the engineer that designed them, Guy Maunsell, the Maunsell Towers were forts located offshore on the Thames estuary to protect Great Britain from the Luftwaffe in World War II. Although collectively known as Maunsell forts, there are two different designs for different purposes. The towers were built at the Red Lion Wharf site in Gravesend, towed down river and lowered by hand winch onto the sea bed, each tower taking up to 8 hours to be placed in position. The first set of towers were placed at the Nore between May and July 1943. One that was close to the mainland is three-three army forts, in the Thames and on the Mersey. Further offshore were another four naval forts in the Thames. They consisted of seven circularly shaped forts connected through a walkway, and have two cylindrical towers that are united by a gun platform above. They were built in 1942 and each fort housed 120 men, mostly below the waterline, in the single structures that had seven floors. Each fort had Bofors guns and radar. Out of the original four naval forts, only two survived.
The Redsands army fort is made up of seven forts that were linked by walkways. There is an on-going effort to restore the Redsands army forts because they are considered to be in the best condition. Project Redsand (https://project-redsand.com/) was set up with the aims of conserving, preserving and interpreting the history of the structure known as Redsands Fort with the hope to develop a museum and other installations.
See under our Boat Trips section for more details of excursions to the forts.
Picture Credit: © maunsellseaforts.com