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Latitude: 51.4284 / 51°25'42"N
Longitude: 0.5276 / 0°31'39"E
OS Eastings: 575813
OS Northings: 172964
OS Grid: TQ758729
Mapcode National: GBR PP9.G6L
Mapcode Global: VHJLN.3C9B
Entry Name: Two WWI Sentry Posts
Listing Date: 21 August 2014
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1421214
Location: Hoo St. Werburgh, Medway, ME3
Civil Parish: Hoo St. Werburgh
Traditional County: Kent
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent
Church of England Parish: Frindsbury All Saints
Church of England Diocese: Rochester
Two sentry posts at approximately TQ 7581072956 and TQ 7580872832, originally overlooking Lodge Hill Lane and associated with the defence of the Lodge Hill Ordnance Depot, of WWI date. Part of a group of six sentry posts in this area, all listed Grade II.
The sentry posts are one or two-man concrete shelters which are approximately 2.5m high and polygonal (11-sided) with a shallow domed roof. They may have originally had an interior lined with metal sheet, as the other examples have. The one to the south shows evidence of this lining in fragmentary remains and stains on the concrete, but it survives essentially unlined. The one to the north was not inspected internally. They are accessed from the east through a small but heavy hatch-doorway with a steel bar-handle and external hinges. There are five observation apertures, located on alternate sides, which could also have served as small arms embrasures given their size, but presumably only for hand guns as the interior space would be too restricted to use a rifle. The walls are approximately 30cm (1 foot) thick and have been constructed in sections using poured concrete. Information provided by the MoD indicates the walls were poured in approximately 60cm (two feet) sections and that the roofs were constructed using corrugated formers - the corrugations can be seen on the inside of the roof.
The sentry posts would have functioned as points of refuge under fire rather than being permanently occupied.
A group of six concrete sentry posts, including these two examples, are part of a WWI reinforcement of the defences of the former Royal Navy ordnance depots at Chattenden and Lodge Hill.
The Chattenden Depot was constructed from 1872 onwards to store gunpowder and other ordnance for the Navy, supplementing an earlier depot at Upnor on the River Medway where expansion was not a possibility. The administrative and residential buildings at Chattenden were completed by 1875 with the Chattenden Magazine Enclosure built by 1877. The Lodge Hill Ordnance Depot followed in 1899 to provide storage for cordite, the new principal smokeless propellant for munitions which required different forms of storage building from gunpowder. The site continued to expand in the early C20 with the addition of laboratories for cartridge filling, the construction of additional cordite and expense magazines (small magazines in which a supply of ammunition is stored for immediate use) and also a large filled shell store for holding up to 6,300 tons of ammunition.
The prospect of Zeppelin raids along the Medway led to the establishment of an anti-aircraft battery at Lodge Hill (memorandums relating to its construction and armament survive dating to late 1912 and early 1913) as well as a block house and battery at Beacon Hill to the south. These were the first purpose-built anti-aircraft guns to be mounted in England, and the Lodge Hill battery is designated as a scheduled ancient monument. These two sentry posts, and the others in the group, can therefore be seen as part of a range of improvements and enhancements in anticipation of enemy attack. Two of the sentry posts are positioned to protect and observe the late C19 Chattenden magazine compound. One sentry post lies on the southern boundary of the Lodge Hill Training Area, and a further sentry post is within the Lodge Hill Training Area towards its south-eastern corner. These two examples are on rising ground to the east of Lodge Hill Lane guarding the southern approach to the site. The sentry posts would have functioned as points of refuge under fire rather than being permanently occupied. Current evidence suggests that these are a locally distinct naval form of sentry post with all known examples confined to the Medway. Other examples can be found at the Medway Maritime Hospital site (the former Royal Naval Hospital, near the junction of Windmill Road and Langhill Avenue, Gillingham), there are two at the Bull Nose, Gillingham Docks and one at the Lower Upnor Ordnance Depot (albeit this is on a larger scale than those at Chattenden and Lodge Hill).
The WWI date for these structures is based on form with WWI pillboxes and sentry posts typically of this type of concrete construction. A War Office 6 inch map of the Chatham field defences, dated November 1914, indicates the position of some WWI defences at Chattenden and Lodge Hill but not the sentry posts, indicating that the structures were built after this date.
Two reinforced concrete sentry posts, built as part of the WWI defences for the Lodge Hill Ordnance Depot, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Early date: relatively few examples are known from the First World War and so these sentry posts are a rare survival nationally;
* Rarity: an example of a sentry post design which is believed to be unique to Royal Navy sites in the Medway area of north Kent;
* Group value: with four other sentry posts in the Chattenden/Lodge Hill area built broadly to the same specification to reinforce the defences of this ordnance depot militarised landscape.
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Other nearby listed buildings