Paull Point Battery, coastal artillery battery and Submarine Mining Establishment


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
TA 16934 25539, TA 17070 25168

Reasons for Designation

The term battery refers to any place where artillery is positioned to allow the guns to cover a particular area such as a line of communication or the approaches to a defended location. Although often contained within artillery forts designed to withstand sieges, typically including resident garrisons, many batteries were lightly defended and only manned at fighting strength in times of emergency. Batteries not contained within forts or castles were either open, with some approaches left undefended, or enclosed, often with a loopholed wall, ditch and/or fence designed to repel small scale attacks. Battery design evolved over time with developments in artillery. Those of the 16th and 17th centuries were normally simple raised earthwork platforms faced with turf, facines (bundles of sticks) or wicker baskets filled with earth known as gabions. More permanent batteries, normally those on the coast, were faced in stone. The guns and gunners were typically protected by a raised parapet with the guns either firing through embrasures, breaks in the wall, or over the top of the parapet, known as firing `en barbette'. Gun positions protected by casemates, roofed gun chambers, were generally restricted to batteries within artillery forts and castles. The gun carriages were supported on timber or stone platforms, barbettes, often ramped to limit gun recoil. In the 18th century traversing guns using carriages mounted on pivots were increasingly employed. By the late 19th century barbette positions became the usual practice and, as the century progressed, guns were mounted in increasingly sophisticated emplacements, normally built in concrete with integrated magazines. The guns themselves also developed through the late 19th century. From the 1860s rifled breech-loading (RBL) guns replaced canons, technically smooth bore muzzle- loading (SBML) guns. These were quickly made obsolete by the introduction of rifled muzzle-loading (RML) guns which were finally superceeded by breech- loading (BL) guns in the late 1880s. The last two decades of the 19th century also saw the development of searchlights and quick firing guns to combat fast moving motor torpedo boats along with the setting up of controlled minefields operated by Submarine Mining Establishments. Because gun barrels wear with use and become increasingly inaccurate, practice batteries were typically used for training purposes, thus preserving the accuracy of the main guns. Although normally located close to an active service battery, most practice batteries were undefended and the gun positions are normally only marked by gun mountings rather than emplacement features such as magazines. Paull Point is a very well-preserved enclosed Victorian battery that is effectively complete with the exception of its guns. The survival of outlying associated features such as the Defence Electric Light emplacement, the practice batteries and the remains of the Submarine Mining Establishment adds to its importance.


The monument includes an enclosed Victorian coastal artillery battery, the remains of a Submarine Mining Establishment and other associated standing, earthwork and buried remains to the south of the village of Paull. It also includes what is likely to be the site of at least one earlier artillery battery. The structure of the Victorian battery with its later modifications is Listed Grade II. The monument lies in two areas of protection.

In 1542, as part of Henry VIII's fortifications of Hull, a battery for 12 gun was constructed at Paull. A century later Charles I inspected his forces here during the siege of the town and again established a battery of guns on the high ground to the south of Paull village in an attempt to prevent Hull from being supplied by sea. The following year, in September 1643, this attempt failed when the battery and the nearby church were destroyed by cannon fire from Parliamentarian ships. During the Napoleonic Wars a new battery, known as Paull Cliff Battery, was built in 1807, but was dismantled sometime after 1815. Paull Point Battery, the battery and defences that now stand within the area of the monument, was built in 1861-64 following the decommissioning of Hull Citadel, the large artillery fort on the east bank of the River Hull. It was initially armed with 19 rifled muzzle loading (RML) 64-pounder guns deployed to cover the deep water channel in the Humber leading to Hull. Although in the late 20th Century (after decommissioning) it became known as Paull Fort, the installation was not in fact a fort, but an enclosed battery. It was only protected with defences designed to repel lightly armed raiding parties. It was also not permanently garrisoned but was kept on a care and maintenance basis, only being manned during exercises and at times of war. In 1886 a Submarine Mining Establishment was set up just to the north of the battery to operate a minefield in the Humber. As part of this, a small concrete observation post was built into the battery's north western rampart from where the mines could be detonated electronically. In 1894 the battery's armament was replaced with two 4.7 inch quick-firing (QF) and three 6 inch breech loading (BL) guns set in new concrete emplacements. The 6 inch guns were `disappearing' guns set on hydro-pneumatic gun mountings designed to raise the gun out of a sunken emplacement just long enough to fire before dropping down again out of view. Armaments were further upgraded around 1904 with the removal of the hydro-pneumatic mountings and the installation of three 6 inch CPII mountings. This new armament led to the building of a new emplacement in the south rampart and the reconstruction of two of the existing 6 inch emplacements. Around 1907 three Defence Electric Light (DEL) emplacements were constructed, all powered from an engine room within the battery. One of these searchlight emplacements covering the river still survives and forms part of the monument within a separate protected area to the south of the battery.

Following the removal of the 4.7 inch guns in 1910 and the 6 inch guns in 1915, Paull Point's defensive role was replaced by Sunk Island and Stallingborough Batteries further down the Humber to the south east. However, Paull Point Battery remained in use as the headquarters for the Humber Fire Command. Between the World Wars the battery was used as a sub-district office and stores by the Royal Garrison Artillery and then by the Territorial Force. Before World War I, Paull had been used as a training base with practice batteries sited between the defended enclosure and the shoreline. In the 1920s this use resumed with two 6 inch guns being emplaced for training purposes, which were finally withdrawn in 1934. During World War II, Paull Point Battery was not rearmed, but served principally as an ammunition dump. The original magazines were used to supply ammunition to merchant ships involved with the Russian Convoy and the barracks were converted into magazines for anti- aircraft ammunition. To accommodate ammunition trucks a new entrance was created along with a network of concrete roads. The Battery was also used in a secret operation to combat magnetic mines that were frequently dropped by the Luftwaffe in the Humber and elsewhere. It acted as a `degaussing monitoring station', with equipment to check the magnetic fields of ships. Little used after the war, the battery passed into private hands in 1960.

The defended area of Paull Point Battery is a flattened pentangle in plan with its longest face to the south west, being some 200m long, running parallel to the Humber shore, flanked by two faces each 100m long. These three faces are formed by earthen ramparts constructed mainly from material excavated from a 4m deep outer ditch. At the foot of the ramparts, there is a wall known as a Carnot wall, which is pierced by loopholes for infantry small arms. The eastern side of the battery is closed by a loop-holed gorge wall forming the remaining two faces of the pentagon, with a spiked iron fence set about 250m beyond the wall. This fence is a World War II replacement of the original Victorian wooden fence. It formed part of the battery's defences and is thus also included in the monument. Projecting into the ditch from the junctions between the faces of the fort there are structures known as caponiers, two storied buildings with loopholes to allow infantry to fire along the lines of the ditch. Similarly, projecting from the junction between the two landward facing walls there is a simple walled bastion through which the new entrance was inserted during the World War II. Further protection from bombardment from the Humber was provided by a glacis, the sloping ground between the battery's south western face and the sea wall. This slope was deliberately landscaped to deflect shot up and over the battery and also concealed the Carnot wall from the Humber. The sea wall that in turn protects the glacis from erosion by the Humber is also believed to date from the 1860s. It is carefully constructed in stone ashlar with drainage gullies in brick and is also included in the monument.

Late Victorian submerged minefields were only deployed during exercises and in time of war. The Submarine Mining Establishment included facilities to store, maintain and deploy the mines and associated equipment, thus limiting exposure to seawater and the resultant problem of corrosion. Buried remains of this establishment, including two 3m deep ponds used for storing cables in fresh water, survive to the north west of the battery. This area, which also includes exposed concrete and brickwork remains of buildings, is included in the monument.

The 1894 remodelling of the fort concealed or removed traces of the emplacements for the original 19 RML guns. These were sited on the south and west ramparts behind brick lined embrasures, openings through a raised parapet. Remains of at least two emplacements for RML guns do still survive just outside the south west corner of the defended battery. This includes massive granite settings for the gun race and pivot block, upon which the gun carriage stood and is part of a practice battery. Just to the south of this, on top of a slight rise, there was another practice battery of four QF guns. The mounting of at least one of these guns still survives in situ along with the stone post for the battery's range finder. The other three mountings are believed to lie buried to the south. Two World War II 4 inch BL gun holdfasts also survive in situ immediately to the south of the Submarine Mining Establishment. The six emplacements within the enclosed battery all have barrel vaulted magazines below, and retain many original fixtures and fittings that are all included in the monument. The northernmost pair of emplacements on the south western rampart were for 4.7 inch QF guns with all the rest being for 6 inch BL guns. The middle emplacement was not updated in 1904, although it had a signalling post added to it at a later date. However, it retains original features of the 1894 installation for an Elswick 6 inch disappearing gun on a hydro-pneumatic mounting. The southern pair of emplacements were updated and thus share features with both the central emplacement and the sixth one built into the southern rampart, which was a completely new construction in 1904.

Behind the ramparts, protected by earth coverings, are the two 1864 main magazines. The north western magazine was extended in 1907 as an engine house to generate electricity for the three Defence Electric Lights that were sited along the shoreline. Two of these searchlight emplacements were just north of the battery and have been demolished. The third survives 380m SSE of the centre of the battery and is a low, flat-roofed concrete emplacement with a hinged iron shutter, protected by earth banking. This forms a separate protected area within the monument.

On top of the south eastern magazine is the Battery Observation Post that was constructed in 1912. The battery was provided with officers' quarters and barracks for up to 100 men. These are flat-roofed, single storey ranges with extensive basements built along the inside of the eastern enclosure wall. The original entrance to the battery is through a gateway placed centrally in the northernmost eastern wall. The wider entrance added during World War II is through the eastern bastion. There are also a number of other stores and ancillary buildings within the battery's enclosure. These and all other buildings, structures and features of Paull Point Battery that date to any time before 1961 are included in the monument in addition to the other features that are noted above that lie outside of the battery's enclosure. This includes fixtures and fittings as well as all pre-1961 painted signage.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Dorman, J E, Guardians of the Humber, (1990), 44-53


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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