Alderney’s Victorian forts were built to defend the island and 'harbour of refuge' and are still one of the most dominant features of the islands coastal landscape.
At the end of a causeway, that becomes flooded at high tide, sits Fort Clonque which when completed in 1855 housed ten guns and was manned by 2 officers and 50 men. The Germans, again sought to exploit the Fort’s strategic possibilities in the 1940s.
In 1953 there was great excitement on island when the fort was used as a setting for the MGM film Crest of the Wave, a version of the stage play Seagulls over Sorrento.
It now belongs to the Landmark Trust and can be rented for self-catering holidays for up to 13 people.
Originally named Fort Touraille, but later re-named Fort Albert following the death of the Prince Albert in in 1861, this fort was one of the last of the forts to be built. Its ‘polygonal’ design shows many features that set it apart from its predecessors on the island with its low profile, polygonal trace, extensive glacis, deep ditch flanked by musketry caponiers, and ramparts designed to mount as many guns as possible. It was intended to be not only the strongest coastal defence work, but also to act as the main citadel should the island be overrun by enemy forces.
Designed to house 346 men mounting 33 guns in five batteries, Fort Tourgis at the time of its completion in 1855, was the second largest of the Victorian forts in Alderney. Built on headland to the north west of St Anne, overlooking the bays of Clonque and Plattes Saline with many loopholed walls, even today Tourgis remains a very impressive structure.
Following extensive clearance and conservation work by volunteers part of the northern defences of Fort Tourgis is now open to the public. Cambridge Battery and Battery No3 is an excellent example of how the original Victorian fortifications were adapted by German forces in the Second World War, when Alderney became one of the most heavily fortified sections of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall.
Constructed between 1850 and 1853, Grosnez was the first Victorian fort to be completed, defending the harbour breakwater works and contained 28 guns in seven batteries. During the German occupation it became 'Strongpoint Josephsburg' with a Flak (anti-aircraft) Battery.
Fort Chateau a L’Etoc
Fort Chateau a L’Etoc sits on a narrow headland projecting into the sea and was built to be protection for the eastern arm of the breakwater that was never built. It was completed in 1855 and designed for 23 guns with accommodation for 128. It is now privately owned and used in May to host parts of the the Arts Festival.
Other Victorian forts
- Fort Corblets – 13 guns in four batteries manned by 59
- Fort Les Hommeaux Florains – on a small island with 5 guns
- Fort Quesnard – seven guns with 55 men
- Fort Houmet Herbe – built on an island, with 5 guns on 4 towers
- Fort Ile de Raz – reached by a causeway, 10 guns manned by 64 men
- Longis Lines – battery of 14 guns
- Essex barracks – built with in the original Fort Essex which was constructed in 1546