View Full Version : Redsands Sea Fort, Kent, Report, 08/08/09

09-08-2009, 10:29 AM
On my to do list!
Hopped a ride out to the Redsands Sea Fort, compliments of the 'Project Redsands Team' who were going out to do a survey on the Docking stage that had been wrecked in a storm, back in February 2009.
Went out to the Fort on a very fast Rib, white knuckle ride:thumb

Rising from the water like rusty invaders out of H.G. Wells, 'The War of the Worlds' the Maunsell Sea/Army Forts in the Thames Estuary are decaying reminders of the darkest days of World War II.

Part of the Thames Estuary Defense Network, the anti-aircraft tower-forts were constructed in 1942, with each fort consisting of a cluster of seven stilted buildings surrounding a central command tower.

When operational, catwalks connected the buildings. Built on land and then transported to their watery homes, the forts were designed by Guy Maunsell, a British civil engineer, later known for innovations in concrete bridge design.

Originally there were three of these forts, but only two are left standing: the Redsands Fort and the Shivering Sands Fort.

After their successful wartime career, the forts were decommissioned in the 1950s. The Nore Army Fort was badly damaged in a storm and by being struck by a ship, and was dismantled in 1959-60. In the 1960s and 70s, the remaining abandoned forts were famously taken over as pirate radio stations.

As with the other offshore platforms, after the war ended, pirate radio operators eagerly boarded the platforms and set up their tall transmitter masts - the configuration of the forts was ideal for such a construction.

First it was Radio Invicta, commencing on 29th July 1964. The station went off air in February 1965 and the fort was soon taken over by KING Radio, transmitting on 238m.

Then on 25th September 1965, Radio 390 took over with a more easy listening kind of programme - light jazz etc., could regularly be heard all over the South East of England on their 35KW transmitter. All stations were eventually closed in 1967 when the UK changed the law with regard to radio broadcasting.

The micro nation of SeaLand occupies a nearby Navy fort of a different design known as the Roughs Tower, also by Maunsell. All of the Army Forts are now abandoned.

In 2003, the Project Redsands organization formed with the aim of protecting and possibly restoring the Redsands Fort, chosen over Shivering Sands due to its better state of preservation.

Access for the men posted to these forts was via an entrance at the base of the platform. Parts of the ladders that the men would have used are still visible today, but are in a very poor condition. I

The forts are now in varying states of decay.

Apologies for some of the blury pics, but they were taken while the boat bobbed up and down in the waves.

Some links on the Forts:


Short film here:

More pics here:


Approaching Redsands at Low water, so that the survey could be done:thumb


Each tower use to have its own dock, most have now gone.


The radio transmitter tower.



Searchlight Tower.


Central Command Tower.

09-08-2009, 10:36 AM
Excellent work indeed. Hasn't one of these collapsed into the sea (ages ago) or is that one of the other ones. Very impressive though, and good work hopping on board. First picture is excellent. How do you get up to them?

09-08-2009, 12:24 PM
Great stuff, these things are amazing. I've only seen them from a distance when sailing past, wish we'd taken a closer look.

09-08-2009, 03:40 PM
Always great to see these crazy looking things! Be nice to see some pics of the interiors one day. :thumb

09-08-2009, 05:19 PM
Excellent pictures :). Iv only ever seen these from a distance!.

09-08-2009, 07:22 PM
Invaders Must Die :-)

Prodigy got on them somehow for that excellent video of the above song.

Nice work mate.

09-08-2009, 08:08 PM
Invaders Must Die :-)

Prodigy got on them somehow for that excellent video of the above song.

Nice work mate.

I'm wondering if there's still a big ant painted up there?

09-08-2009, 08:33 PM
Spoke to the guy who is in charge of the Project. They have already started restoring one tower, but the docking stage got wrecked in a storm back in February, 2009. They have to rebuild the stage before they can re-board the tower, this is expected to happen within the next 2 months, after which I have been invited on board to help out with the resto:thumb
It will entail sleeping on the tower for at least 48 hours, longer if the weather turns nasty and we cant get off:lol:
Defo up for that experience:thumb

There overall plan is to initially restore three towers, at a cost of £1.5 million pounds:w00t Yes I know it sounds, a mega sum! but they have quite a number of backer's and the future looks good.
The Royal Engineers are replacing the catwalks to the 3 towers FOC, as a training exercise.

The Big Ant got washed away in the first rain's as it was only theatrical paint that was used:coffee


The landing stage that was installed in 2005 by Mowlem Marine. The original fenders below the stage were used until they were wrecked in the storm. You can just make out the remains below the water line:thumb


Access to all towers was up a ladder into the centre of the base of the fort.
This was also repalced by Mowlem's:thumb

Will keep you posted on the progress:thumb

10-08-2009, 06:58 PM
Thats the first time Ive seen the sea fort photographed in recent times, its got an almost eerie war of the worlds thing going on with it!
Have fun with the resto project, and keep us all fully informed as internal shots n wot not :smclap

12-08-2009, 10:22 AM
Envious. Very envious. :)

12-08-2009, 10:47 AM
Wow i would love to get out on them nice job :thumb

15-08-2009, 09:38 PM
Superb stuff, seen this recently on BBC's Coast programme - had never seen or heard of it before then. Weird looking place but makes a cracking picture!!

15-01-2011, 12:49 PM
More of the same but different... I would love to do these!!!

A friend sent me a Japanese magazine called WORLD for my birthday that included this article...

...although there are some much better photos already on the Net and even in this thread.


15-01-2011, 03:15 PM
Tankman ,Some quality picture there even more so on the rolling sea.
Dougcc nice imput,cheers.

£70 pp donation ,Minimum of four payable to Project Redsands sign a disclaimer and they get you on board :smile

Was going to do it a while ago but it all fell through due to last minute commitments for three of the four of us, including me :(

What a structure and again cracking pics.

SK :thumb

16-01-2011, 07:08 PM
Cracking stuff mate! how much do I want to look around them!

16-01-2011, 08:12 PM
Thanks everyone for your comments, I am glad you are still enjoying this Report:thumb

The forts are something else when you are really close up to them, luckily for me that day the sea was relatively calm, but I still had to time it right not to get any fuzzy shots, standing up in a rib was precarious and I was worried I might lose my camera over the side:w00t

I hope to go back this year in the summer and get on them:thumb