Victorian Reigate Fort
Built towards the end of Queen Victoria’s reign, the fort was not a conventional armed stronghold. It was, in fact, a store to hold tools and ammunition to help defend London.
There are two sets of gates protecting the entrance of the fort. The first pair is spiked and made of steel; the second pair is heavier and bullet-proof. The causeway is 10ft wide (enough for a horse-drawn wagon).
Tools needed for entrenched warfare were kept here. Spades and pickaxes for digging the trenches, saws and axes for clearing trees from the firing lines and spiked coils of barbed wire to slow an advancing army. Tents may have also been stored for the soldiers to sleep in.
Ammunition for muzzle-loading and breech-loading rifles, along with fuses and shells for heavy artillery guns (these were located near Redhill), were stored here. Imagine what it must have been like for the soldiers working in the Magazine with the risk of explosion. The building was covered with earth to prevent damage from enemy shelling.
Like the Tool store, Casemate stored entrenching tools. If an invasion had happened, this underground building would have given protection to soldiers from enemy shell bombardment. It may even have been used as a war room, co-ordinating defence and repelling the enemy.
Reigate Fort – the defence of London
To read more about Reigate Fort, visit the Box Hill shop and buy our booklet 'Reigate Fort – the defence of London' (£3). Or contact the Surrey Hills Estate office on 01372 220644.