East Tilbury Battery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013880

Date first listed: 21-Aug-1990

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Sep-1995


Ordnance survey map of East Tilbury Battery
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2019 at 13:35:36.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Thurrock (Unitary Authority)

National Grid Reference: TQ 68657 77424


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

The East Tilbury battery is an exceptionally rare coastal example of the `Twydall Profile' form of defensive installation, of which it is the best and most complete in this country. The Twydall Profile represented a complete change in defensive tactics in the late 19th century from massive and starkly outlined fortifications (eg. Coalhouse Fort) to disguised installations. Furthermore, the unusual survival of the concrete sunken emplacements for disappearing guns, which add to the invisibility of the battery, adds greatly to its importance. Historical documentation for the use of the battery exists in the form of written and photographic records which depict the organisation of the battery and the manner of operation of the disappearing guns. The battery at East Tilbury was built to support the guns at Coalhouse Fort and hence holds an important place in the complex evolutionary sequence of defensive installations both at East Tilbury itself and in the wider context of the turn of the century defence of London.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


East Tilbury battery, separate from the nearby Coalhouse Fort, was built in 1889/90 to support Coalhouse Fort with long-range fire. Its form rejected the stark outline of its predecessors, instead being blended into the landscape by means of a long and sloping earthen frontal area so that from a distance it was invisible (`Twydall Profile'). The guns at the battery, two 10-inch and four 6-inch, extended the tactical doctrine of invisibility, being mounted on `disappearing carriages' which lay flat in deep emplacements for reloading and aiming but which were raised above the parapet for the few seconds of firing. Below the gun mountings were magazines and accommodation blocks, and to the rear of the battery were a cookhouse and the battery office. Unclimbable `Dacoit fencing', set in a steeply-sided ditch, surrounds the battery. Although the guns were removed when the battery was decommissioned before the First World War, the remainder of the fortification is remarkably well- preserved. Many structural details are discernible and machinery used to raise shells and cartridges from the magazines to the emplacements is virtually intact.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 12708

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Smith, VT C, 'Coalhouse Fort Project' in Coalhouse Fort and the Artillery Defences at East Tilbury, (1985)
Smith, V T C and Catton, J, Recommendations for Scheduling of Several Military Structures, 1984, Unpublished report

End of official listing