Ancient Monuments

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East Tilbury Battery

A Scheduled Monument in East Tilbury, Thurrock

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Latitude: 51.4701 / 51°28'12"N

Longitude: 0.4274 / 0°25'38"E

OS Eastings: 568691.011586

OS Northings: 177368.445807

OS Grid: TQ686773

Mapcode National: GBR NM8.LWD

Mapcode Global: VHJLD.C99V

Entry Name: East Tilbury Battery

Scheduled Date: 21 August 1990

Last Amended: 12 September 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013880

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12708

County: Thurrock

Electoral Ward/Division: East Tilbury

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: East and West Tilbury and Linford

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


East Tilbury battery, separate from the nearby Coalhouse Fort, was built in
1889/90 to support Coalhouse Fort with long-range fire. Its form rejected the
stark outline of its predecessors, instead being blended into the landscape by
means of a long and sloping earthen frontal area so that from a distance it
was invisible (`Twydall Profile'). The guns at the battery, two 10-inch and
four 6-inch, extended the tactical doctrine of invisibility, being mounted on
`disappearing carriages' which lay flat in deep emplacements for reloading
and aiming but which were raised above the parapet for the few seconds of
firing. Below the gun mountings were magazines and accommodation blocks, and
to the rear of the battery were a cookhouse and the battery office.
Unclimbable `Dacoit fencing', set in a steeply-sided ditch, surrounds the
Although the guns were removed when the battery was decommissioned before the
First World War, the remainder of the fortification is remarkably well-
preserved. Many structural details are discernible and machinery used to
raise shells and cartridges from the magazines to the emplacements is
virtually intact.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The East Tilbury battery is an exceptionally rare coastal example of the
`Twydall Profile' form of defensive installation, of which it is the best and
most complete in this country. The Twydall Profile represented a complete
change in defensive tactics in the late 19th century from massive and starkly
outlined fortifications (eg. Coalhouse Fort) to disguised installations.
Furthermore, the unusual survival of the concrete sunken emplacements for
disappearing guns, which add to the invisibility of the battery, adds greatly
to its importance.
Historical documentation for the use of the battery exists in the form of
written and photographic records which depict the organisation of the battery
and the manner of operation of the disappearing guns. The battery at East
Tilbury was built to support the guns at Coalhouse Fort and hence holds an
important place in the complex evolutionary sequence of defensive
installations both at East Tilbury itself and in the wider context of the
turn of the century defence of London.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Smith, VT C, 'Coalhouse Fort Project' in Coalhouse Fort and the Artillery Defences at East Tilbury, (1985)
Smith, V T C and Catton, J, Recommendations for Scheduling of Several Military Structures, 1984, Unpublished report

Source: Historic England

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