I occasionally come across things that are so cool that, while they sort of fall outside the usual scope of Well Dressed Dad, I just have to mention them anyway. The Maunsell forts are a case in point. If you’ve ever seen them, they’ve probably made an impression on you in one way or another.
Sea forts, what on earth might that be then? Well, way back in the dark days of WW2 when Britain was being routinely bombed by German bombers, an innovative chap by the name of Guy Maunsell designed an sea fort that could be deployed offshore where the water depth wasn’t too great. There were two variants: the army fort that was made up as clusters of 7 parts, connected by walkways, each part having it’s own specific purpose, or navy forts, where a platform is placed upon two large concrete cylinders (the notorious crackpot idea “Sealand” is homed on one of these).
Placed off the coast in the Thames and Mersey estuaries in 1943, they enjoyed some success in shooting down enemy aircraft and flying bombs, 22 and around 30, respectively. Post-war they were maintained until being decommissioned in 1953, after which some saw use as bases for pirate radio stations. Or, as mentioned, being home to eccentrics attempting to create a new sovereign state.
Mainly though,they’ve just stood there, as silent sentinels, keeping an eye out. Waiting for something to give them a sense of purpose again. In the meantime though, some have been hit by errant boats and collapsed or been dismantled. Some still stand to this day though, 70 years since they were dragged out and set in place. They look like something out of Star Wars, or perhaps something the Daleks would construct.
I’d love to take a boat out and see them for myself.