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Hound Point Battery, 150m west of Fishery Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Almond, City of Edinburgh

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9994 / 55°59'57"N

Longitude: -3.3514 / 3°21'4"W

OS Eastings: 315815

OS Northings: 679313

OS Grid: NT158793

Mapcode National: GBR 22.V318

Mapcode Global: WH6SB.HGBP

Entry Name: Hound Point Battery, 150m W of Fishery Cottage

Scheduled Date: 12 March 2018

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13686

Schedule Class: Cultural

Location: Dalmeny

County: City of Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Almond

Traditional County: West Lothian

Description

The monument is a coastal artillery battery and associated magazine building, established in 1914. It is visible as the remains of a series of concrete structures, located 250 metres to the south of Hound Point, on a wooded ridge about 25 metres above sea level. The site overlooks the navigation channels of the Firth of Forth.

The Hound Point battery formed part of the inner of three defensive lines of coastal batteries defending the eastern approaches into the Firth of Forth during the First World War. It comprises the mountings and holdfasts for two 12 pounder (Pdr) quick firing (QF) gun emplacements, built into two 6-inch emplacements. Approximately 15 metres to the south of the battery is the magazine building. There is high potential for the survival of the buried remains of accommodation blocks and an observation post nearby.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction and use is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The cultural significance of the monument has been assessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics

The coast artillery battery at Hound Point is notable for the comprehensive survival of the major elements of a coastal battery with potential remains of associated observation post and accommodation.

The battery became operational by 1914. A War Office map from this date (The National Archives, WO 78/5173, WO 78/4396) shows the layout of the battery, with the guns occupying a ridge. To the south of the gun emplacements, and on lower ground, is the magazine. The perimeter was surrounded by blockhouses and a plain and tangled barbed wire fence. 

The gun emplacements at Hound Point are unusual because of their round shape. They display an interesting degree of variation to the design of batteries from this period, given the officially 'standardised' nature of military structures, and reflect the local availability of materials. There is a small room at ground level of the gun emplacement, with an iron-railed circular platform above, and this is an uncommon feature for this building type.

The survival of these upstanding features helps us to appreciate how First World War coastal batteries were designed and functioned, and the role they played in defending the navigation channels at the eastern approaches to the key naval base at Rosyth. In addition, traces of hut bases, and a pile of brick rubble near the gun emplacements possibly indicating the remains of the observation post were observed at a site visit in 1997. As such, there is high potential for the survival of further buried archaeological evidence both within and around the battery, which can increase our understanding of the construction and use of the battery and the daily lives of the men who built and served on it.

Contextual Characteristics

This battery occupies an elevated site on a ridge set back slightly from the coast and surrounded by woodland (2017). During wartime, contemporary photographs indicate that this battery would have benefited from open views, overlooking the Firth of Forth towards the north and the entrance of the estuary to the naval base at Rosyth. The monument forms part of three strategic lines of defence of the Firth of Forth and Rosyth, a vital component of a national defensive system of the UK that extended from Shetland to Cornwall during the First World War.

The three key lines of defence were established to the east of the Forth Bridge during the First World War: the Outer, Middle, and Inner. As the war progressed, changes in use of the river saw anchoring of vessels in waters east of the Forth Bridge. The defences of the Forth were re-worked, and in October and November 1916 the guns were moved to the Middle and Outer line to strengthen the defence system to the east. The two 6-inch guns were sent to Leith Docks, while two 12-pdr QF from Inchcolm were moved to Hound Point. The 12-pdr QFs were dismounted in 1922. The inner lines of defence were largely abandoned by the start of the Second World War.

The inner defensive line of Forth batteries also included batteries at Downing Point, and further west at Inverkeithing (Carlingnose Battery, see LB52012), and the island of Inchgarvie. Many of these are designated as scheduled monuments on account of their national importance. The batteries at Inchgarvie, Inverkeithing and Downing Point are visible from Hound Point, and the range of different guns used across these batteries would have provided comprehensive defences against amphibious attack. Each line of defence had an associated anti-submarine barrier.

There were over 47 coast batteries within Scotland during the First World War. Barclay (2013, 22) identified 12-c.23 individual batteries in the First World War defences of the Forth, depending on how individual guns on Inchcolm and InchKeith are counted. Many of the batteries were not re-used in the Second World War. The increased speed and range of ships and their guns meant that the Middle and Outer lines to the east were prioritised for defence ahead of the Inner line. As a result, the Inner gun batteries tend to have undergone less change than those found elsewhere in the Forth. It is rare to find elements such as wooden and metal fittings in situ, as reusable materials were often removed when the battery was decommissioned. Although clearance was conducted on many military sites following the end of the war, the somewhat remote nature of the battery at Hound Point meant that these efforts were not as intensive as elsewhere.

Associative Characteristics

The physical remains of sites from the First World War such as Hound Point battery have become places to visit, remember and commemorate the men who served on wartime sites such as this. Their relatives and descendants visit Scotland from across the globe for this reason. They provide evidence of one of the largest construction efforts ever to have taken place in British history, which also had a significant impact on the local population and landscape. The monument is a highly visible reminder of the considerable efforts made to defend the British Isles during the First World War.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is an integral part of the network of defences constructed in the First World War to defend the coast of Fie and key strategic interests in the Forth. This is a well-preserved example of a First World War coastal battery and associated structures with unusual design features. The layout of the battery is well documented in War Office plans and the monument retains considerable potential to add to our knowledge and understanding of defensive military strategy along the coastline of eastern Scotland during the First World War. These concrete structures are a tangible and powerful reminder of one of the defining events of the 20th century. If this monument was to be lost or damaged, it would significantly affect our ability to understand the nature and scale of the efforts made to defend Britain against enemy naval threats in the First World War.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number 50454 [accessed on 22/11/2017].

National Archives. (WO 78/4396) War Office and predecessors: Maps and Plans. Great Britain. Scotland. Scottish Field Defences. 1:2500.

National Archives. (WO 78/5173) War Office and predecessors: Maps and Plans. Great Britain. Scotland. Firth of Forth, Hound Point Battery.

Barclay, G.J. (2013) The Built Heritage of the First World War in Scotland. Project report, Historic Scotland and Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Brown I (2002), 20th Century Defences in Britain: an Introductory Guide. York: Council for British Archaeology.

Guy, J. (1994) The World War One and Two Defences of Fife. Project report, Historic Scotland.

Canmore

https://canmore.org.uk/site/50454/

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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