Grain Island Firing Point, Yantlet Creek, Isle of Grain, Medway: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment

Author(s): Matthew Edgeworth

This report describes the results of a desktop assessment of the 20th-century trials battery and firing point at Yantlet Creek on the Isle of Grain, Kent. It starts by considering the general archaeology and history of Yantlet Creek and the adjacent area of marshland on its eastern side. The status of the creek as a former navigation channel and the rich landscape of former salt-workings are highlighted. The main focus of the report is on the military installations. In 1917, towards the end of the First World War, the Admiralty requisitioned marshland to the east of Yantlet Creek, and in the 1920s the War Office formally purchased it for the purpose of building a firing point for testing large weapons. One of the names of the establishment, cited on early plans, was ‘Grain Island Firing Point’. It was also referred to as the Yantlet Battery. The firing point was an ‘out’ battery of the experimental establishment at Shoeburyness on the other side of the estuary. It was used for firing long-range shells in a north-easterly direction across the estuary into shallow water on the mudflats along the Essex coast, known as Maplin Sands. Facilities included two pairs of large velocity screen masts, an internal railway linked to the national network, a gun emplacement, a railway gun emblacement, domestic quarters and administrative offices, a gantry path for travelling crane and a wharf on Yantlet Creek for the unloading and loading of large guns and their mountings. The firing point is an unusual monument type, further distinguished by the length of the range of which it was a part, the size of the guns that were tested there, and the state of preservation of its surviving structures.

Report Number:
Research Report
Modern Firing Range


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