Tilbury Fort (Essex - England)

Just like Old Sarum, Tilbury fort too has moats all around it! Just like Belur & Halabidu, its almost star shaped!
This was built in 1700 by Sir Bernard de Gomme who was the chief engineers of King Charles II. In 1539 King Henry VIII built the first blockhouse fort here as a response to the invasion threats from Europe. 
Right from the entrance there are about 3-4 cannons at various places within the fort.
Later in 1667, the Dutch naval squadron did a humiliating attack after which this was built as a major fort. By 18th C this became a gunpowder magazine (storage place of artillery) and its presently the oldest existing one. I hope you can feel the star shape of the fort to some extent in the above panorama. 
There are 2 moats just like Old Sarum. The inner moat is just after this point and a wooden lifting bridge connects the inner space and star shaped island around, surrounding which is the outer moat. 

However unlike Old Sarum, (probably since this is connected to the Thames), these are filled with water till date. Connecting the island and outer space across the outer moat is another wooden lifting bridge. Perhaps that's the trial behind the Tower Bridge. See how the land takes an angle on either sides of the bridge - that's again due to the star shape of the fort.
The entrance of the fort faces the river Thames. As soon as I entered, I felt there is no fort at all coz there was one huge ground which once served as Parade Ground. On one side was the soldiers barracks where no masonry exists today, just the ground plan. Perhaps they had built it out of perishable materials. 

Straight ahead is the Gunpowder magazine. Between the East & West wing is the Master Gunner's Store which served as the mortuary for half of 19th C.
Opposite to the soldier's barracks is the officer's barracks. Here are also the gun emplacement for 9" rifles. 
Tiny little passages to the Magazine & Shell Cartridge store rooms are accessible from the ground. In olden days these should have been lighted with medieval fire torch. Today just in the same style, electric bulbs light up the place. Jaali walls at certain places, make the place a bit airy.

Ahead along the Thames River are the breach loading guns which are similar to cannons. A path goes within to a hidden room from where the guns can be loaded with magazines and operated. 
Pic Courtesy: www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/tilbury-fort

Again, just like Old Sarum, the beauty of this place can be fully felt only when seen from above, from a helicopter. No matter how many pics I put up from ground level, it can never bring out the true awesomeness of the place as seen from sky! 

TO GET THERE:
Nearest Railway station: Tilbury (c2c line)
Nearest railway station that comes under London Transport: Upminster (zone 6)

Entrance to the property is at £4.80 for single adult and its free for English Heritage members about which I've explained here.

P.S: Check out here to know what I wore to the trip.

Dedicated to Venkat, Kishore, Jay, Sharmi & Vivek

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands