Fort George: guidebooks

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Fort George © David Gill

Fort George was constructed after Culloden to place a garrison near Inverness. It became the home of the the Seaforths and then the Queen’s Own Highlanders, followed by the Royal Highland Fusiliers. The Ministry of Defence placed it in the care of the Department of the Environment in 1964. Iain MacIvor prepared the first guidebook in 1970.

There is a double page foldout frontispiece providing an aerial photograph of the fort (taken in 1968). The sections are: 

  • Highland garrisons
  • Fort George Ardersier
  • Building the fort
  • Later history
  • Description

The guidebook is illustrated with black and white photographs along with some plans. 

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1970

MacIvor’s guidebook was updated as a second edition in 1983. 

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1970 (2nd ed. 1983)

The second edition has an extended set of images. The text is similar. For example, the section on the Highland Garrisons comes under a general history section, introduced with the quotation, ‘A large sum of money spended in building’. The description is introduced with ‘Upon this barren, sandy point’.

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1988 (rev. ed. 2006)

MacIvor’s text continues in the Historic Scotland Official Souvenir Guide, revised by Doreen Grove. This contains a guided tour and a history, supported by colour images.

Inchcolm Abbey: guidebooks

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1937 (2nd ed. 1950)

Inchcolm Abbey was placed in State Guardianship in 1924. The remains was conserved by J. Wilson Paterson, the architect in charge of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings in Scotland.  Paterson prepared the first guidebook in 1937; a second edition was published in 1950. It includes a fold-out plan of the abbey, as well as a series of evolving plans.

The foundation was Augustinian, and was probably linked to Scone or St Andrews. It became an abbey in 1235.

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1989 (rev. ed. 1998)

A new guidebook (‘Official Souvenir Guide’) was prepared by Richard Fawcett, David McRoberts and Fiona Stewart in 1989 and revised for Historic Scotland in 1998. This starts with a guided tour, and followed by ‘The story of Inchcolm Abbey and Island’. The history is taken up to the Second World War with the defence of the First of Forth.

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2011

A new format souvenir guide was prepared by Kirsty Owen.

Lympne: Praefectus of the British Fleet

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Inscription from Lympne © David Gill

This altar was discovered in April 1852, subsequent to the 1850 excavations of the east gate of the Roman fort at Lympne in Kent (RIB 66). The inscription shows that it was a dedication to the god Neptune, set up by L. Aufidius Pant(h)era who was serving as the praefectus of the British fleet, clas(sis) Brit(annicae).

Pant(h)era, from Umbria, served as prefect in a cavalry unit in Upper Pannonia and is named in a diploma dated to 2 July 133. He probably moved to Britannia subsequent to this date.

It appears that the altar was reused in the later Saxon Shore fort, probably dating to the second half of the third century. The altar was purchased by the British Museum from Charles Roach Smith in 1856 (inv. 1856.07-01.5026).

Yarmouth Castle: safety first

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Yarmouth Castle © David Gill

Yarmouth Castle on the Isle of Wight retains a number of Ministry signs. One on the upper gun deck reminds visitors ‘to avoid accidents’.

For other types of Ministry warning signs:

For guidebooks to Yarmouth Castle see here.

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Yarmouth Castle © David Gill

Hurst Castle

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Hurst Castle © David Gill

Hurst Castle was built to guard the western approach to the Solent. At the centre lies the Tudor artillery fort constructed between 1541 and 1544.

The coastal defences were strengthened during the 1850s, and the west and east wings at Hurst were added in the 1860s and 1870s. It served as a coastal battery in World War II.

Opposite Hurst Castle was Fort Albert (on the right of the picture below).

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Hurst Castle from Needles Point © David Gill

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Hurst Castle and east wing © David Gill

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Fort Albert, the Needles, and Hurst Castle © David Gill

Hidden defences at St Helen’s Duver

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St Helen’s Duver © David Gill

The 13th century tower of old St Helen’s church stands above the beach at St Helen’s Duver on the Isle of Wight [National Trust]. It formed part of the Benedictine Priory, that was abandoned in the early 15th century. In the 18th century the tower was bricked up and served as a landmark.

Adjacent to the tower is a World War II pillbox intended to defend the entrance to Bembridge harbour [HER] [Citizan]. This was carefully disguised to look like part of the ruins.