Fort Southwick Midden

Created 25-08-2001     Last update 15-02-2010

Along the footpath which runs at the base of Portsdown (behind the Paulsgrove housing estate), just to the West of Fort Southwick is a concrete structure that has proved very difficult to identify. It was eventually recognised as a sewage holding tank (cesspit or midden) for Fort Southwick, built in the 1900s to replace the not very successful Victorian original - see Fort Widley Midden. The are reports that it was re-used as a Mortar Battery during the early part of WWII, as protection against the expected German invasion. It housed a big 4 inch mortar which could be cranked up into the firing position thus giving the operators some extra degree of cover. It was intended to protect the northern part of Portsmouth Harbour and the A27 Portsmouth to Southampton road, and was probably manned by the Home Guard or the Royal Marines. The site is now overgrown and derelict.


Aerial photo site location    Panoramic photo site location

Grid Ref SU626066

long shot of the unknown structure

A view of the structure from the footpath looking north. The undergrowth is head high. The structure is made from concrete and is about 30 feet long, 8 feet high and over a  foot thick. There are two narrow slots in it, the left one is arrowed. 

close up of the left slot

Close up view of the left opening. It is just over a foot wide and has a 

steel frame fitted to the lower half which has a slot running along the 

middle of it; of typical cesspit sluice design. 

view inside the left opening

A view inside the left opening. The concrete roof  has collapsed,

and the inside has been filled in with chalk. I also inspected the right opening where the roof has completely collapsed.