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Entrance to Lumps Fort, Canoe Lake grounds, Southsea - - 71147

Entrance to Lumps Fort

Lumps Fort is a disused fortification built on Portsea Island as part of the defences for the naval base at Portsmouth.

Lumps Fort dates from the 18th century.[1] The earliest reference is in the records of the Board of Ordnance in 1805 which mention "Lumps Fort-three 32-pounder guns".[2]

By 1822 the fort was the site of a semaphore station on the semaphore line from London to Portsmouth. It was constructed here to avoid the smog of the town of Portsmouth which would impede direct optical communications from Portsdown Hill. The fort was out of use as a defensive fort by the 1820s and in 1827 part of the fort fell into the sea.[3] The semaphore station was closed in 1847 when the electrical telegraph took over. The fort was reconstructed between 1859 and 1869 as one of the Palmerston forts in the line of Portsmouth Harbour defences. It became a coastal battery with two 6-inch rifled breech-loader Mk. IV guns. These guns were taken away in 1906, but the fort was rearmed in 1914. It was then a beach defence battery and was armed with a 6-pounder Hotchkiss anti-aircraft gun. At the end of the World War I, it was demolished, leaving only an outline.[2]

Lumps fort from the air 1945

Lumps Fort as seen from the air in 1945

The fort was brought by the city in 1932.[4] Plans to develop the site were interrupted by World War II. In 1942, an elite special forces unit, the Royal Marine Boom Defence Patrol Detachment, was based in two Nissen huts at the fort and trained in the Solent opposite; they went on to conduct Operation Frankton, the famous "Cockleshell Raid" on shipping in Bordeaux harbour.[5] After the war, it was planted as a rose garden,[4] and part of the site became the Southsea Model Village[6] Adjacent to the site is the Canoe Lake, constructed from a large area of marshland, which was opened on 17 June 1886 and used as a boating lake.[7] During World War II, the lake was used for experiments into countermeasures against magnetic mines[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. Corney, A (1965). Fortifications in Old Portsmouth-a guide. Portsmouth City Museums. pp. 10–12. ASIN B003U6UNIA. ISBN 0001538136. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 English Heritage - Lumps Fort"
  3. Castles and Fortifications of England and Wales
  4. 4.0 4.1 Webb, J; Quail, S; Haskell, P; Riley, R (1997). The Spirit of Portsmouth: A history. Phillimore & Co. p. 66. ISBN 0-85033-617-1. 
  5. Ken Ford, The Cockleshell Raid – Bordeaux 1942, Osprey Publishing 2010, ISBN 9781846036934 (p.11)
  6. Ideas for the kids
  7. Welcome to Portsmouth Canoe Lake
  8. Ken Ford (p.12)

External linksEdit

Next station upwards Admiralty Semaphore line 1822 Next station downwards
Camp Down  Lumps Fort HMNB Portsmouth 

Coordinates: 50°46′52″N 1°04′05″W / 50.7811°N 1.0680°W / 50.7811; -1.0680

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