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Paull Point Battery, coastal artillery battery and Submarine Mining Establishment

A Scheduled Monument in Paull, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.7133 / 53°42'48"N

Longitude: -0.2296 / 0°13'46"W

OS Eastings: 516939.714218

OS Northings: 425556.514433

OS Grid: TA169255

Mapcode National: GBR VTVH.2L

Mapcode Global: WHHGY.FXXN

Entry Name: Paull Point Battery, coastal artillery battery and Submarine Mining Establishment

Scheduled Date: 23 June 1986

Last Amended: 24 April 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020425

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34713

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Paull

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Paull St Andrew and St Mary

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes an enclosed Victorian coastal artillery battery, the
remains of a Submarine Mining Establishment and other associated standing,
earthwork and buried remains to the south of the village of Paull. It also
includes what is likely to be the site of at least one earlier artillery
battery. The structure of the Victorian battery with its later
modifications is Listed Grade II. The monument lies in two areas of

In 1542, as part of Henry VIII's fortifications of Hull, a battery for 12
gun was constructed at Paull. A century later Charles I inspected his
forces here during the siege of the town and again established a battery
of guns on the high ground to the south of Paull village in an attempt to
prevent Hull from being supplied by sea. The following year, in September
1643, this attempt failed when the battery and the nearby church were
destroyed by cannon fire from Parliamentarian ships. During the Napoleonic
Wars a new battery, known as Paull Cliff Battery, was built in 1807, but
was dismantled sometime after 1815. Paull Point Battery, the battery and
defences that now stand within the area of the monument, was built in
1861-64 following the decommissioning of Hull Citadel, the large artillery
fort on the east bank of the River Hull. It was initially armed with 19
rifled muzzle loading (RML) 64-pounder guns deployed to cover the deep
water channel in the Humber leading to Hull. Although in the late 20th
Century (after decommissioning) it became known as Paull Fort, the
installation was not in fact a fort, but an enclosed battery. It was only
protected with defences designed to repel lightly armed raiding parties.
It was also not permanently garrisoned but was kept on a care and
maintenance basis, only being manned during exercises and at times of war.
In 1886 a Submarine Mining Establishment was set up just to the north of
the battery to operate a minefield in the Humber. As part of this, a small
concrete observation post was built into the battery's north western
rampart from where the mines could be detonated electronically. In 1894
the battery's armament was replaced with two 4.7 inch quick-firing (QF)
and three 6 inch breech loading (BL) guns set in new concrete
emplacements. The 6 inch guns were `disappearing' guns set on
hydro-pneumatic gun mountings designed to raise the gun out of a sunken
emplacement just long enough to fire before dropping down again out of
view. Armaments were further upgraded around 1904 with the removal of the
hydro-pneumatic mountings and the installation of three 6 inch CPII
mountings. This new armament led to the building of a new emplacement in
the south rampart and the reconstruction of two of the existing 6 inch
emplacements. Around 1907 three Defence Electric Light (DEL)
emplacements were constructed, all powered from an engine room within the
battery. One of these searchlight emplacements covering the river still
survives and forms part of the monument within a separate protected area
to the south of the battery.

Following the removal of the 4.7 inch guns in 1910 and the 6 inch guns in
1915, Paull Point's defensive role was replaced by Sunk Island and
Stallingborough Batteries further down the Humber to the south east.
However, Paull Point Battery remained in use as the headquarters for the
Humber Fire Command. Between the World Wars the battery was used as a
sub-district office and stores by the Royal Garrison Artillery and then by
the Territorial Force. Before World War I, Paull had been used as a
training base with practice batteries sited between the defended enclosure
and the shoreline. In the 1920s this use resumed with two 6 inch guns
being emplaced for training purposes, which were finally withdrawn in
1934. During World War II, Paull Point Battery was not rearmed, but served
principally as an ammunition dump. The original magazines were used to
supply ammunition to merchant ships involved with the Russian Convoy and
the barracks were converted into magazines for anti- aircraft ammunition.
To accommodate ammunition trucks a new entrance was created along with a
network of concrete roads. The Battery was also used in a secret operation
to combat magnetic mines that were frequently dropped by the Luftwaffe in
the Humber and elsewhere. It acted as a `degaussing monitoring station',
with equipment to check the magnetic fields of ships. Little used after
the war, the battery passed into private hands in 1960.

The defended area of Paull Point Battery is a flattened pentangle in plan
with its longest face to the south west, being some 200m long, running
parallel to the Humber shore, flanked by two faces each 100m long. These
three faces are formed by earthen ramparts constructed mainly from
material excavated from a 4m deep outer ditch. At the foot of the
ramparts, there is a wall known as a Carnot wall, which is pierced by
loopholes for infantry small arms. The eastern side of the battery is
closed by a loop-holed gorge wall forming the remaining two faces of the
pentagon, with a spiked iron fence set about 250m beyond the wall. This
fence is a World War II replacement of the original Victorian wooden
fence. It formed part of the battery's defences and is thus also included
in the monument. Projecting into the ditch from the junctions between the
faces of the fort there are structures known as caponiers, two storied
buildings with loopholes to allow infantry to fire along the lines of the
ditch. Similarly, projecting from the junction between the two landward
facing walls there is a simple walled bastion through which the new
entrance was inserted during the World War II. Further protection from
bombardment from the Humber was provided by a glacis, the sloping ground
between the battery's south western face and the sea wall. This slope was
deliberately landscaped to deflect shot up and over the battery and also
concealed the Carnot wall from the Humber. The sea wall that in turn
protects the glacis from erosion by the Humber is also believed to date
from the 1860s. It is carefully constructed in stone ashlar with drainage
gullies in brick and is also included in the monument.

Late Victorian submerged minefields were only deployed during exercises
and in time of war. The Submarine Mining Establishment included facilities
to store, maintain and deploy the mines and associated equipment, thus
limiting exposure to seawater and the resultant problem of corrosion.
Buried remains of this establishment, including two 3m deep ponds used for
storing cables in fresh water, survive to the north west of the battery.
This area, which also includes exposed concrete and brickwork remains of
buildings, is included in the monument.

The 1894 remodelling of the fort concealed or removed traces of the
emplacements for the original 19 RML guns. These were sited on the south
and west ramparts behind brick lined embrasures, openings through a raised
parapet. Remains of at least two emplacements for RML guns do still
survive just outside the south west corner of the defended battery. This
includes massive granite settings for the gun race and pivot block, upon
which the gun carriage stood and is part of a practice battery. Just to
the south of this, on top of a slight rise, there was another practice
battery of four QF guns. The mounting of at least one of these guns still
survives in situ along with the stone post for the battery's range finder.
The other three mountings are believed to lie buried to the south. Two
World War II 4 inch BL gun holdfasts also survive in situ immediately to
the south of the Submarine Mining Establishment. The six emplacements
within the enclosed battery all have barrel vaulted magazines below, and
retain many original fixtures and fittings that are all included in the
monument. The northernmost pair of emplacements on the south western
rampart were for 4.7 inch QF guns with all the rest being for 6 inch BL
guns. The middle emplacement was not updated in 1904, although it had a
signalling post added to it at a later date. However, it retains original
features of the 1894 installation for an Elswick 6 inch disappearing gun
on a hydro-pneumatic mounting. The southern pair of emplacements were
updated and thus share features with both the central emplacement and the
sixth one built into the southern rampart, which was a completely new
construction in 1904.

Behind the ramparts, protected by earth coverings, are the two 1864 main
magazines. The north western magazine was extended in 1907 as an engine
house to generate electricity for the three Defence Electric Lights that
were sited along the shoreline. Two of these searchlight emplacements were
just north of the battery and have been demolished. The third survives
380m SSE of the centre of the battery and is a low, flat-roofed concrete
emplacement with a hinged iron shutter, protected by earth banking. This
forms a separate protected area within the monument.

On top of the south eastern magazine is the Battery Observation Post that
was constructed in 1912. The battery was provided with officers' quarters
and barracks for up to 100 men. These are flat-roofed, single storey
ranges with extensive basements built along the inside of the eastern
enclosure wall. The original entrance to the battery is through a gateway
placed centrally in the northernmost eastern wall. The wider entrance
added during World War II is through the eastern bastion. There are also a
number of other stores and ancillary buildings within the battery's
enclosure. These and all other buildings, structures and features of Paull
Point Battery that date to any time before 1961 are included in the
monument in addition to the other features that are noted above that lie
outside of the battery's enclosure. This includes fixtures and fittings
as well as all pre-1961 painted signage.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The term battery refers to any place where artillery is positioned to allow
the guns to cover a particular area such as a line of communication or the
approaches to a defended location. Although often contained within artillery
forts designed to withstand sieges, typically including resident garrisons,
many batteries were lightly defended and only manned at fighting strength in
times of emergency.
Batteries not contained within forts or castles were either open, with some
approaches left undefended, or enclosed, often with a loopholed wall, ditch
and/or fence designed to repel small scale attacks. Battery design evolved
over time with developments in artillery. Those of the 16th and 17th centuries
were normally simple raised earthwork platforms faced with turf, facines
(bundles of sticks) or wicker baskets filled with earth known as gabions. More
permanent batteries, normally those on the coast, were faced in stone. The
guns and gunners were typically protected by a raised parapet with the guns
either firing through embrasures, breaks in the wall, or over the top of the
parapet, known as firing `en barbette'. Gun positions protected by casemates,
roofed gun chambers, were generally restricted to batteries within artillery
forts and castles. The gun carriages were supported on timber or stone
platforms, barbettes, often ramped to limit gun recoil. In the 18th century
traversing guns using carriages mounted on pivots were increasingly employed.
By the late 19th century barbette positions became the usual practice and, as
the century progressed, guns were mounted in increasingly sophisticated
emplacements, normally built in concrete with integrated magazines. The guns
themselves also developed through the late 19th century. From the 1860s rifled
breech-loading (RBL) guns replaced canons, technically smooth bore muzzle-
loading (SBML) guns. These were quickly made obsolete by the introduction of
rifled muzzle-loading (RML) guns which were finally superceeded by breech-
loading (BL) guns in the late 1880s. The last two decades of the 19th century
also saw the development of searchlights and quick firing guns to combat fast
moving motor torpedo boats along with the setting up of controlled minefields
operated by Submarine Mining Establishments.
Because gun barrels wear with use and become increasingly inaccurate, practice
batteries were typically used for training purposes, thus preserving the
accuracy of the main guns. Although normally located close to an active
service battery, most practice batteries were undefended and the gun positions
are normally only marked by gun mountings rather than emplacement features
such as magazines.
Paull Point is a very well-preserved enclosed Victorian battery that is
effectively complete with the exception of its guns. The survival of outlying
associated features such as the Defence Electric Light emplacement, the
practice batteries and the remains of the Submarine Mining Establishment adds
to its importance.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Dorman, J E, Guardians of the Humber, (1990), 44-53

Source: Historic England

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