Fire Watchers Post

Unlike many of the buildings around Fort Halstead, this structure was not built for any unique testing or evaluation purpose, but for the protection of the site. Constructed in the early years of the Second World War, this firewatchers post stands on the highest point across the site; on top of a rampart within the

The Old Fort, building use in the 1990s

With a large number of plans and documents available in the archive, it’s possible to piece together the use of the site throughout the decades. Combining a site plan from 1986 and a building schedule from 1975, it’s possible to give a snapshot of how the site has changed use. As with many military sites,

N17 Optical Test Range

Located outside the wire on Crow Drive, building N17 was constructed as an optical test range. The building was erected by the Ministry of Supply (MoS) for High Explosive Research (HER) who were engaged in Operation Hurricane to test high speed cameras.* Most likely originally constructed entirely from wood, the later edition of a brick

Early Computing in Britain

Early Computing in Britain examines the interactions and influences between the important computing innovators on both sides of the Atlantic during the seminal period 1945 to 1949. This unique book presents the story of the pioneering manufacturing company Ferranti Ltd. – producer of the first commercially-available computers – and of the nine end-user organisations who

Star Hill Camp

A curious Saturday evening online search revealed a postcard for sale. Neither the subject or the recipient were or particular interest, but the address from which the postcard was sent piqued my interest: Dear EJH, Having a fine time.Fun day Sunday.Today Monday practically a cold day.Hope all are well.430 here Sunday130 Monday The postcard was

Wartime bomb damage to the fort

In browsing the National Archives, I came across an interesting reference to a work request concerning Fort Halstead. A request in May 1945 for six small building schemes had been submitted for the expansion and development of the site at Fort Halstead, but interestingly was a seventh item – “Bomb damage repairs to East Casemates.”

Navvies Constructing the Fort

Constructed as part of the London Defence Scheme, the fort at Knockholt (also known as the Polhill Fort and latterly Fort Halstead) was part of an extensive earthwork defensive system constructed on the North Downs. There were a total of thirteen mobilisation centres (also known as redoubts or forts) constructed in the late 19th Century.

Boundary Stones

Military boundary stones, not to be confused with Ordnance Survey datum points, are somewhat of an enigma. Historically they delineate boundaries of military sites, however their use is not consistent – some sites have them, others do not, and as for design, there are many different styles. Their use appears to extend as far back