Raleigh Battery, Maker Heights, Cornwall, July 2018

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HughieD

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1. The History
Constructed between March 1890 and August 1894, this costal defence barbette battery cost £4,963 to construct back in the day. Originally intended to be a single 17-inch B.L. gun this counter bombardment battery was constructed between Hawkins battery and due-east of Maker Farm, on sloping land facing the sea and consisted of two 10-inch B.L. guns, one on an Elswick Ordnance Company Barbette mounting, the other on a Royal Carriage Department barbette mounting. The were located to prevent ships lying at anchor off Cawsand Bay and to support Pickecombe Fort guarding approaches to Plymouth Sound.

The guns were side-by-side separated by an underground magazines stores linked by a tunnel that slopes down underneath a central earth traverse. There was one magazine to the north of the tunnel and two carriage stores (each with its own serving hatch) to the south. Each gun emplacement had a R.A. store, cartridge recess, a shell recess and a shelter for the gun crew, all built into the concrete gun apron. To the right of the right-hand gun emplacement was a water catchment area and tank. The caretaker’s office was on the opposite side which consisted of two bedrooms, a living room and a scullery. In between both of these were two Depression Range Finders. Behind the left hand battery was an oil store. There were no barracks and was manned only at times of need.

Plan of Raleigh Battery:

43619413761_34facca7aa_b.jpgScreenshot_20180724-222436_Drive by HughieDW, on Flickr

The guns remained in situ until 1908 after which they were placed in reserve. They were dismantled two years later in 1910. The MOD finally abandoned the site completely in 1946.

2. The Explore
This was only a bit of a side recce as my main targets were Maker Battery and Grenville Battery. They both turned out to be fails and this one the best bit of the day. I’d seen the gun aprons on Google Maps so knew something remained of this two-gun battery and that is was relatively accessible. However, it completely surpassed expectations. Wished I’d had more time to spend there and get better pictures than I did. It’s a well-preserved battery and fortunately the idiots haven’t found it. I’ve done a lot of stuff in and around Plymouth and this place ranks right up there.

3. The Pictures
The right-hand battery with the Royal Carriage Department barbette mounting clearly visible:

43465014182_ba82ef64ba_b.jpgimg8297 by HughieDW, on Flickr

42608259165_dda9c31e4f_b.jpgimg8295 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Close-up of the mounting:

28625955417_b13af13e90_b.jpgimg8296 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The left-hand gun emplacement (mounting not visible):

29641490388_923865dde7_b.jpgimg8300 by HughieDW, on Flickr

One of the two Depression Range Finders (this is the one on the left):

29641432528_b0c6a9ed9b_b.jpgimg8302 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Down into the battery complex:

42795431794_014310133e_b.jpgimg8303 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Think this a shell recess and a shelter for the gun crew:

28625715087_12b3b13347_b.jpgimg8307 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This looks like some sort on motorised axle:

42795312454_7f8136a35a_b.jpgimg8308 by HughieDW, on Flickr

West end of the tunnel connecting the two gun emplacements:

42607634515_490ff02406_b.jpgimg8311 by HughieDW, on Flickr

…and looking out:

29640745678_9e62d7b46b_b.jpgimg8324 by HughieDW, on Flickr

An old enabled pan:

28625514297_3b349cbf5b_b.jpgimg8313 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Ground level in the left emplacement:

29641068108_13aae057aa_b.jpgimg8314 by HughieDW, on Flickr

42607327635_20f6e5298d_b.jpgimg8317 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The oil store is being reclaimed by nature:

28624807797_bae9d28fea_b.jpgimg8338 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside the oil store:

28625432167_a3b5e6e8e5_b.jpgimg8315 by HughieDW, on Flickr

…with its reinforced roof:

43464542532_b572b00222_b.jpgimg8316 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Into the tunnel looking east:

29640814568_4296725727_b.jpgimg8321 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The gate at the eastern end:

28625127877_3459194326_b.jpgimg8325 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Recess and brackets for the storage of side arms:

43464177172_cfe4afe216_b.jpgimg8329 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The magazine passage with rooms off to the left and right, both with service hatches:

42794700244_ac67cdac20_b.jpgimg8331 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking east from the middle of the tunnel:

42606977485_3e55dbf1e1_b.jpgimg8332 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The Filled Shell Store II to the north of the tunnel:

43511535261_e504bbb220_b.jpgimg8333 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Obligatory old tea-pot:

41703370440_7e2248aa25_b.jpgimg8336 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Finally, the caretakers quarters:

43511397631_ce683ed1ab_b.jpgimg8341 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

Mikeymutt

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Thats lovely mate.lools totally untouched.a real gem of a find.bet you wished you had more time there.seems a lot around there.but then the navy are a big factor down that way
 

fluffy5518

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Cracking report Mr D. as you say it is such a refreshing change to find a place abandoned for so long that hasn't had the attention of the local brain deads. Loving that connecting tunnel and all the Brick goodliness - Long may it remain unspoilt !!
 

Hugh Jorgan

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That's a good report. I didn't realise that there was so much to see, and still remaining. No graffiti I see which is a change.
 

Dirus_Strictus

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Nice set Hughie. Your 'motorised' axle is very early - it is in fact a rear axle fitted with an overhead worm drive differential unit, complete with brake 'drums' and some of the actuating mechanism. The wheels would have been wooden spoked artillery type with metal, detachable rims. In the 60's there was a front axle and a bit of chassis also on the site. The late 19th C UK coastal defences and their later early 20th C counterparts always make a good explore. Reminded me of my early days rooting about on this and similar installations - only real difference was the vast amount of rusty WW2 still lurking about, ready to catch the unwary!
 

HughieD

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Cheers folks. Yup - let's hope it stays in this condition. Do you know what - when I saw that axle thing and didn't know what it was I thought "But I know a man who will". And you didn't let me down Dirus!
 

prettyvacant71

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Thanks for that very informative report HD...I'm always amazed that you military enthusiasts can reveal so much from sum old concrete foundations or a simple piece of rusty metal:encouragement: The only thing I recognised was the teapot:apologetic:
 

HughieD

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Thanks for that very informative report HD...I'm always amazed that you military enthusiasts can reveal so much from sum old concrete foundations or a simple piece of rusty metal:encouragement: The only thing I recognised was the teapot:apologetic:

My pleasure PV. A lorra bricks n'all! It's all in the research :smug:
 
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