Iceland Cruise 2 – Tilbury Port, Tilbury Fort & Shivering Sands Forts

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We left Tilbury Port on 4th March 2018, on our cruise to Iceland.  Our first port of call would be Amsterdam in the morning, but before that, I did manage to photograph two different types of forts.  First a few photos of leaving Tilbury, which lies on the north shore of the River Thames, where there has been a port since 1886.

While we were on deck watching Magellan, our cruise ship, move slowly from the dockside, I noticed Tilbury Fort.  I had seen signs when we were coming into the Port, and wondered if we would see it.  Luckily the ship was going in the right direction, and we got a perfect view of a fort that protected London’s seaward approach from the 16th century through to the Second World War.  Henry VIII built the first fort here, and Queen Elizabeth I famously rallied her army nearby to face the threat of the Armada. The present fort is much the best example of its type in England, with its circuit of moats and bastioned outworks.  I took a load of photos, even though the light was being to fade, and of course it started to rain, but they turned out fairly well, against all the odds. 

The sightseeing did not end until we were sitting having a coffee outside on deck, under cover, when I suddenly saw strange shapes in the mist.  The rain was quite heavy by then (great way to start a holiday) but I started taking photos, as we were moving away from them quite fast.  Husband came back with a drink, and looking at them, said they were sea forts.  I had no idea what they were called, but had seen other photos of them, far better than mine, but I think mine have an eerily feel to them. Anyway, I have since found out they are called Shivering Sands Forts, there are also some others called Red Sand Forts, both are very similar sites.  Built with a central command tower surrounded by five other towers in a circle around it, with the searchlight tower slightly removed from the others.  They were operated as army and navy forts, and named after their designer, Guy Mansell.  The forts were decommissioned in the late 1950s, and later used for other activities including pirate radio broadcasting.   

Next stop Amsterdam, some windmills and clogs.


10 Replies to “Iceland Cruise 2 – Tilbury Port, Tilbury Fort & Shivering Sands Forts”

  1. Wonderful the ship took you right by those forts! I would not have known those towers had anything to do with a fort. Curious now, I’ll have to see if find some more info. 🙂

      1. Wow! Incredible history on Tilbury. I think it is woven well into a lot of the major events in UK history. Shivering Sands is like nothing I’ve ever seen or heard of before. I didn’t realize how big those towers were until I saw the images on Google. Your posts often lead me down paths I would never have known were there. Thanks! 🙂

      2. I’m glad you found them interesting Pat, and I learnt something about Tilbury, I had never been there before, but I think I would like to explore the area a bit more one day 🙂

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