BARRACK ROAD (East side)
Nothe Fort and outer gateway
(Formerly Listed as: THE NOTHE, The Nothe Fort)
Coastal fort. Begun c1860, completed 1872, minor additions and alterations in C20. The major construction work was carried out by 50 men of 26 Company, Royal Engineers under Colonel J Hirse. Portland ashlar walls, brick vaults, stone, asphalted, or grassed roofs.
PLAN: a demi-lune with straight entrance wall to the west and a lower contemporary caponier on the southwest corner. The main entrance has a further entrance gateway and tunnel approximately 32 metres to its west. A series of twenty-two casemates at the upper courtyard level, with twelve original gunports, is set above a continuous circuit of magazines and stores. The parapet carries three later 6-inch gun emplacements, one with gun in-situ, and various later additions, including a Bofors repeater and a Second World War observation post (southwest corner).
EXTERIOR: the entrance wall is in a straight run, in fine coursed ashlar to a deep roll-mould heavy parapet, under an earth and grass covering with a series of stone ventilators. The wall sweeps down at the left-hand end, and is raised over the entrance archway, with a small projecting barbican on three heavy stone corbels, and with a series of slits, above an arch with heavy rusticated voussoirs and jambs, containing double-thickness plank doors on massive strap hinges to a segmental head, and a further grillage door to the right, under a 'portcullis' grille. To the left are three small arched openings, and, set low to the right, a plain flush door opening. Far right are three above four small arched openings, then the projecting caponier, with a series of slits immediately below the heavy parapet, and various square openings below.
The seaward walls are in unusually large blocks of stone, up to approximately 2m x 0.9m thick, and with a heavy rock-faced parapet; this is all set to a wide glacis, and a sea wall, which was begun in 1860. The entrance gateway gives to a tunnel with brick transverse barrel vault and stone Welsh vault over heavy rock-faced masonry walls.
The courtyard is surrounded by 22 wide-arched casemates, with heavily rusticated jambs and voussoirs, some with timber-framed glazing, some blocked, with inserted doors and lights. Above the dividing piers were originally 25 square piers, of which eight remain on the north side, and four on the south; these short piers are approximately 0.9mm square, to very heavy moulded caps, some of the work in concrete. They are joined by simple iron rails, which continue round the parapet where piers have gone. On the entrance side a slow ramp leads to the southwest corner.
The gun emplacement on the south side has a ring of 27 heavy iron fixing bolts on a 2m diameter base. The casemates have brick cross-vaults; the deep embrasures to the gun-ports have large splayed voussoirs, plus a lining of thick iron plates. At the lower level is a continuous 'ambulatory', with a series of magazines and other storage rooms or recesses. All is in ashlar, with fine geometrical barrel or groin vaulting of the highest quality. In the northwest corner is a spiral staircase in a brick-lined turret with brick-domed top. The doors to magazines are of massive cast-iron c200mm thick. To the west of the main entry is a free-standing entrance gateway and tunnel in a broad grassed embankment, approached through ramped side walls to a rock-faced wall with arched opening to voussoirs, on a plain plinth, which is carried through the tunnel, approximately10m long, with concrete barrel vault.
This is a characteristically massive piece of construction, but is executed in very accurately cut and jointed work, with very exact geometry to the complex vaulting. The property is now owned and run by Weymouth Civic Society, and opened to the public. A series of photographs, drawings, models and a contemporary newspaper report explain clearly the history and architecture of the building.
Listing NGR: SY6870678735