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.”
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.
“The object of this book is to enable the officers concerned to become acquainted in as short a time as possible with the proposed arrangements for resisting an invasion on the line of the London Defence Positions, so that they may be in position to undertake their respective duties in the proposed scheme with the
A brief assessment of the role of Fort Halstead in Britain’s early rocket programmes and the atomic bomb project
A report by Wayne Cocroft, copyright English Heritage, 2010. This report can be viewed and downloaded from the originators website here.
In 1989 a report was published aimed at “drawing together at the current time, information regarding the physical plan, form and history of the ancient monument known as Fort Halstead.” These rare images detail some of the historical features still remaining in the old mobilisation centre almost 100 years after its construction. At the time,
This history forms part of a larger RARDE history written by the late Peter Baigent around 1991. Peter had a long and distinguished career in weapons design at Fort Halstead. We are very grateful to his family for giving permission to publish Peter’s research. Fort Halstead originates from a scheme drawn up in 1888 by