Tuesday 15 April 2014

Nothe Fort

One of the first places we visited while on Holiday in Dorset was Nothe Fort. This was one of the Palmerston Forts built to protect Britain from invasion during the latter part of the 19th Century. Commissioned in 1872 it is located at the entrance to Weymouth Harbour and through several upgrades it defended this vital safe haven for over 80 years. With the advent of breach loading (BL) guns the 12 riffle muzzle loaded (RML) cannons of the Victorian era were removed and three 6 inch guns were emplaced on the Ramparts. These new guns had a greater accuracy and better rate of fire than the 12 muzzle loaded guns and their armour piecing shells had a range of 10 miles. During the second world war additional 40mm Bofors were added and the four 3.7 inch Vickers were sited just outside the wall in what is now the car park. 

The Forts last years in service were as a Naval stores but by 1961 its working life had come to an end. The local council bought the site but it quickly fell into disrepair. Eventually the site was saved from total dereliction and turned into a museum and is now maintained by Weymouth Civic Society under a lease agreement with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. As usual I went camera in hand and took a 'few' snaps, a selection of which are shared below. 

A model showing how the fort was built with each quadrant showing a different stage of construction.
A model showing how the Fort looked in 1944
64pdr Rifled Muzzle Loaded Gun
Model of HMS Glowworm
A model showing Glowworm ramming the German heavy Cruiser Admiral Hipper in her final battle in April 1940
Model of the HMS Hood
Mode of the M2
The German U Boat surrender in May 1945
The Victorian gun decks. These are actually Fiberglas replicas but they look very real indeed.
Depiction of a gun crew manning the guns
The Blitz - Weymouth like many towns and cities in the UK was heavily bombed throughout the war.
A map showing all the bomb sites in Weymouth
Part of the fort was turned over to Civil Defence during the Cold War
Elsewhere there is an excellent collection of weapons from throughout the Forts history
There are lots of models on displays including this one showing all the different types of Anti Tank blocks (commonly called Dragons Teeth) used. 
Another model and pictures showing different types of Anti-Tank ditch's that could be used to defend important locations. 
Typical Pill Box designs, many examples of which still remain in place today. 
A huge model showing the D-Day invasion beaches. This model combines elements from all the beaches into one large tableau but it does show off much of the hardware and techniques used in the invasion. 
Another picture from the D-Day model. It wasn't very well lit so it proved a challenge to get a good picture through the glass of the display case. 
One of the 3.7 inch AA guns that had previously been sited outside the forts walls in what is now the car park. 
This is a cracking little museum with lots more to see than I have shown here. You can happily spend several hours exploring its exhibits and get a very reasonably priced cup of tea down in the cafe. The weather wasn't great on the day we went but given clear Sky's the view from here should be spectacular, out across the bay from Portland right round to Swanage and Pool harbour. If you are in the area this is well worth a visit. 


  1. Beautiful pics, looks like a great place to visit!

  2. Fantastic piece of history on your doorstep! Down at the bottom of the planet in NZ our city has an Armstrong disappearing gun out on the Otago Peninsular near our Albatross colony. Nothing on Nothe scale but pretty cool though. Here is a link http://www.albatross.org.nz/fort-taiaroa/

  3. Excellent pictures, Lee.
    And it seems to be a place worth to visit.


  4. Love the Nothe, used to live just below it at Brewers Quay. Must get back to it as don't remember half those models!

    1. The museum has recieved Heritage Lottery funding and now has better access and new display space.

  5. Interesting little museum a gem of a find. Small local museums often better than larger ones.

  6. Very interesting stuff Lee. That model of the fort being built is a cracker. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Thanks for sharing your very interesting visit.
    Great pics.

  8. Excellent account and pictures. Looks like a little gem! We have one of those type 26 pillboxes still guarding the railway in the village!


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