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Allhallows (Kent) Parish Council

Slough Fort

By Chris Fribbins Allhallows (Kent) Parish Council

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

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Allhallows (Kent) Parish Council Clerk

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Slough Fort

Slough Fort dating from 1867 is within the parish boundary and is a key part of the historic and widespread Thames-side defences.  Currently undergoing renovation in conjuction with Bourne Leisure, English Heritage and the local community.

 

April 2016 - UPDATE by Daune Ashdown.

We are pleased to give an update about Slough Fort.  For those that are not aware, Slough Fort is situated at the entrance to the Allhallows Caravan Park.  It dates from the 1860’s and was built to defend the local area and was operation for around 80 years in different forms.

Restoration began in 2013, but came to a halt, but following various meetings with Bourne Leisure (BL), Heritage England and Medway Council, it was finally agreed to go ahead and start the workdays up again. A meeting was called by Keith Gulvin and Bourne Leisure on 4th July, which was attended by approx 20 people. The following points were made or agreed by the meeting.
  
• That a volunteer group would be formally established, which would be supported by BL, through the provision of facilities, tools and materials. The group will formally meet three or four times a year in between working sessions.
• A steering group would be set up from the volunteers to plan working days and organise the work and liaise with BL.
• The possibility of staging a public open day later in the summer would be explored, this could be a paid for event to raise funds and increase awareness.
• Restoration work would include clearing the wing battery magazines of rubbish, this was felt to be the first task to get underway. Also preserving the exposed iron work by wire-brushing and painting. Other tasks could include looking for the lost main magazines, looking for the remains of mantle bars in the case mates and further clearance on the roof.
• At a later stage the Fort may be transferred to a charitable trust to develop and maintain into the future and raise additional funds.

A Steering group was formed of 7 volunteers and 3 staff members from Bourne Leisure. The first meeting was held on 17th September, with the first Workday taking place on Saturday 26th September, where 14 volunteers arrived to lend a hand. A good start was made with:-

• installation of temporary lighting in the magazine and some larger items of rubbish removed
• investigation of the drainage to see what was causing the flooding.
• The first right hand gun pit, cleared and de-weeded. Along with a number of hold down bolts wire brushed and painted. 
• Some artefacts from the magazine were found and collected ready for inspection and cleaning
• A new standpipe was installed.

The Steering group meet monthly and plan the works for the monthly Saturday Work day.
 
At the end of October, Bourne Leisure sited an old caravan, near the Slough Fort entrance gate, which is used to store equipment and as a base for the volunteers.
 
One of the Steering group, Trina Davis, has started a Facebook page which displays pictures of the workdays and volunteers and archive pictures, along with information. Trina is also in touch with local magazines, such as Village Voices, the KM, etc to try and increase awareness. We are always interested in hearing from people that have stories about the site and any old photographs. We are hoping to launch a Slough Fort Web page as well. 
Bourne Leisure and the volunteers organised and held an Open Day on Saturday 16th January, between 2-4pm, to show people what had been achieved so far.  There were with guided tours and lots of displays showing the progress and interesting information about the site.
 
Even though it was a cold winter’s day, we had approximately 100 people visit the site and we managed to sign up some new volunteers too, which was brilliant.
 
Restoration work has continued with clearance of the magazine and drainage. Also the bush has been cleared from the bank, leading up to the roof of the Fort.  There is still plenty of work to undertake. Our volunteer database is up to 37 plus 4 members of the Bourne Leisure staff, but we are always looking for more people to come and help us. We are a friendly group and refreshments are provided on the workdays.
 
The workdays are once a month on a Saturday between 10am and 3pm approx, but you can come along and stay for as long as you can. Every bit of assistance helps.
 
For more information about Slough Fort and volunteering at our work days, which are listed below, please contact Daune Ashdown on 01634 270970 or michael@daune.orangehome.co.uk

  • 21st May 2016
  • 25th June 2016
  • 30th July 2016
  • 20th August 2016
  • 24th September 2016
  • 22nd October 2016
  • 26th November 2016
  • 10th December 2016


Watch this space for more news!

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Contact Information

Chris Fribbins

Find Allhallows (Kent) Parish Council

42 Quickrells Avenue, Cliffe, Allhallows, Rochester, Kent, ME3 7RB

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