A look inside the Battery

black and white image of the underground battery at St Anthony Head

Concrete buildings on the tip of the Roseland Peninsular represent a local history of military fortifications, including a gun battery, ammunition stores and gunner's lookout.

The first artillery was built in 1796 in response to the French invasion and was a battery of 24-pounder cannons.  In 1885 these were replaced by 64-pounder muzzle loaders.  In 1904 a completely new coastal fort was built, with two huge 6 inch VII breech loading guns, each with 23ft long barrels.

The first artillery was built in 1796 in response to the French invasion and was a battery of 24-pounder cannons.  In 1885 these were replaced by 64-pounder muzzle loaders.  In 1904 a completely new coastal fort was built, with two huge 6 inch VII breech loading guns, each with 23ft long barrels.

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The Tour

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St Anthony Head gun pit
St Anthony Head battery gun pit

The gun pedestals were mounted in 7ft deep pits, and below them was the magazine, entered by a central door.  The magazine layout was designed to reduce the risk of accidental explosion – shells and cartridges were stored apart from each other, and lifted up to the gun pits using separate hand-cranked hoists, only coming together when they were loaded into the guns.

St Anthony Battery interior hoist
roseland_St Anthony Head battery hoist and cartridges

St Anthony Head battery hoist
St Anthony Head battery ammunition hoist

The battery remained fully operational, and the magazine filled with ammunition, until 1956 when the guns were dismounted, cut up and carted away for scrap.  When we bought the headland in 1959 the gun pits were filled with rubble.  The eastern pit has now been excavated to expose the original walkways, stores and ammunition hoists.

gunners uniform in the battery
St Anthony Head Battery gunners uniform