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Fort Perch Rock
New Brighton, United Kingdom
Fort Perch Rock, New Brighton-by-Tom-Pennington.jpg
Coordinates 53°26′34″N 3°02′28″W / 53.4427°N 3.0412°W / 53.4427; -3.0412Coordinates: 53°26′34″N 3°02′28″W / 53.4427°N 3.0412°W / 53.4427; -3.0412
Type Coastal Fort
Site information
Owner Museum
Controlled by United Kingdom
Open to
the public
Closed Down
Condition Good, Grade II listed
Site history
Built 1825 (1825)
Materials Sandstone

Fort Perch Rock is a former defence installation situated at the mouth of Liverpool Bay in New Brighton. Built in the 1820s to defend the Port of Liverpool, its function has changed from defensive, to tourist attraction and museum. It has been used as a venue for musical concerts and has been listed as a Grade II* Listed Building.

History

Fort Perch Rock is a coastal defence battery built between 1825 and 1829, with the foundation stone being laid in 1826. It was built to protect the Port of Liverpool and proposed as a fortified lighthouse to replace the old Perch Rock Light; however, a separate lighthouse was built. The fort was built on an area known as Black Rock, and was cut off at high tide. However, coastal reclamation has made it fully accessible. It is currently open as a museum.

The Fort covers an area of about 4,000 square yards (3,300 m2), with enough space for 100 men. It was built with red sandstone from the Runcorn quarries. The height of the walls ranges from 24 feet (7.3 m) to 32 feet (9.8 m), and the towers are 40 feet (12 m) high. The Fort originally had a drawbridge, and a Tuscan portal which bore the coat of arms and the words 'Fort Perch Rock'. At one point it was armed with 18 guns, of which 16 were 32-pounders, mounted on platforms. It was nicknamed the 'Little Gibraltar of the Mersey'.

The foundation stone reads:

This foundation stone of the Rock Perch Battery, projected by and under the direction of John Sikes Kitson, Esquire, Captain in the Royal Engineers, for the defence of the port was laid on 31st March 1826 by Peter Bourne, Esquire, Mayor of Liverpool in the 7th year of the reign of His Majesty George IV. His Grace, the Duke of Wellington , Master General of the Ordnance.

The projected cost of building was £27,065.0s.8d. Kitson ensured that this budget was not exceeded, finishing the fort for a total cost of £26,965.0s.8d.

Modern use

In the late 1970s, the fort could be hired as a party venue. During this time Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark founder members Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys played there as members of the short lived Wirral group The Id. Since the 1990s, the fort has played host to various musical events including, in the summer of 2006, a number of rock concerts which were organised by a group of young Wallaseyans. The nights were called "Nautical" and were featured in The Guardian newspaper and named The NME club of the week for the 1 September 2006 show, which featured British Sea Power and the Tiny Dancers.

The fort featured a museum with displays including military aviation, maritime history, and the Fort Perch Rock Marine Radio Museum used to exhibit marine wireless communications devices.

It is currently closed to the public. The website fortperchrock.org [1] claims the fort is open at weekends but this has not been updated in recent years.

In Literature

In the poem 'The Black-Rock Fort and Lighthouse', Letitia Elizabeth Landon imagines the beacon light as a welcoming sight to voyagers returning to their home in England.

Gallery

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