Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

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

City of Portsmouth (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SU 65675 06434



SU60NE PORTSDOWN HILL 774-1/2/85 Fort Widley 30/10/69


Fort. c1860. By William Crossman (Capt. Royal Engineers). Red brick in English bond, flint, stone dressings. Roofs concealed by earth. Main elevation facing road has to barrack block a brick chimney stack at far left and right with 3 evenly spaced at centre. PLAN: massive polygonal trace plan surrounded on 3 sides by wide dry moat with scarp and counterscarp walls in flint set between bays of brick piers with round relieving arches. Extensive earthworks to ramparts with gun emplacements and expense magazines set within earthworks. Projecting into rear facing moat (north) is a brick caponier with embrasures at centre and to left and right corners (west and east). Underground gallery cut through chalk runs from centre of barrack block leading to underground magazine and thence to a spiral staircase with ammunition hoist rising up to parade level. From spiral staircase, 3 underground galleries lead to centre caponier and west and east mortar batteries. Barrack block 2 storeys 13 bays (1/1/3/1/3/3/2/3/2/3/1/1). Stable block 1-storey 14 bays (2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2). EXTERIOR: main entrances, barracks, stores and stable blocks are positioned on side facing Portsdown Hill road. The main entrances to left and right of barrack block are approached by inclined roads up to high level. Each of the 2 openings are set within a thick brick curtain wall with Norman style entrance. Stone round arch, moulded dripstone with dropped bosses engraved with Crown and V.R. insignia, flanking attached stone columns with scalloped capitals and bases. To left of right entrance and right of left entrance are 4, and on opposing sides 3, stepped and splayed embrasures each set under a flat stone arch. Brick castellated parapet with, on rear face, a stone slabbed firing platform supported on cast-iron cantilevered brackets with attached railings. To right of right entrance is the 1-storey guardhouse and stores block with 4 small paired 9-pane metal casements, each set under a gauged brick segmental arch. To right are 4 wide openings each set under a flat stone arch with C20 metal shutters, stone coped brick parapet. Further right are 7 similar openings set within a projecting slated lean-to wing. To right of projecting wing is a similar opening with embrasures on the right. Parapet splays down to top of escarp

wall. At centre the barrack block from lower road level has flanking projecting wings. Centre part 9-bays wide has ground floor window openings blinded with brickwork. First floor windows follow through with on far left bay 1 and to right bays 3, 4, 6, 7 and 9, each bay has a group of three windows comprising two 8-pane 2-leaf recessed casements with rounded brick jambs set under flat stone lintel with stone sill. Similar single casement to Bay 2. On right is a similar window with larger 4-pane casement except that windows to bays 3 and 8 are set under a gauged brick segmental arch. Similar paired casements to bays 5 and 8. Rounded stone band, brick parapet with stone coping, embrasure to centre and left and right flanks. Each of the projecting flanking wings is splayed inwards 2-bays wide, each bay with paired recessed 4-pane casements to each floor set under flat stone arches. Each inward return is 2 bays wide, each bay with 3 grouped windows similar to centre part. Entrances to barrack block are at rear with four 2-leaf boarded doors and overlight to each floor, approached by stone steps to dry moat area and concrete bridges over moat to upper level. To left of left (west) entrance is a 1-storey stable block (converted c1913). Each bay has paired casements each set under a gauged brick segmental arch. From left are four 9-pane wood casements, then ten 12-pane wood casements, then two 9-pane metal casements, two 12-pane wood casements and ten 9-pane metal casements. Stone coped brick parapet which on far left splays down to top of Scarp wall. INTERIOR: most of the items in fireplaces, joinery, stable partitions are intact. HISTORY: part of Palmerston's defences, initiated in anticipation of a war with France. Scheduled Ancient Monument. (Portsmouth City Museums: Corney A: Fort Widley and the Great Forts on Portsdown: Portsmouth; Lloyd DW: Buildings of Portsmouth and its Environs: Portsmouth: 1974-: 80, 81; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N & Lloyd DW: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight: Harmondsworth: 1967-: 387, 388).

Listing NGR: SU6610802158


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Lloyd, D W , Buildings of Portsmouth and its Environs, (1974), 80,81
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, (1967), 387,388
Corney, A, 'Portsmouth City Museums' in Fort Widley and the Great Forts on Portsdown, ()


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 12 May 2001
Reference: IOE01/04046/19
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Paul Shutt. Source Historic England Archive
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