Built in the 16th Century and situated on the Thames Estuary. Tilbury Fort is a wonderful piece of military history that you can visit today. Neil had a week off to take the children and I on some adventures and visiting Tilbury Fort was one of them.
Kai, my eldest is really into his history, He doesn’t have a set history in which he likes he just likes history. So Neil thought it would be a good idea to take him as well as the other children to visit the fort for a day out and then head down to South end afterwards for some fun at the beach.
T H E H I S T O R Y O F T I L B U R Y F O R T
I could talk about the whole history of Tilbury, however I personally do not feel at all qualified to even start talking about it. Tilbury Fort has a long and amazing military history which spans back hundreds of years. throughout the years its gone through multiple changes but the one thing that remains is the fact that its been a bit part of defending the Thames and London from enemies invading from the waters.
As the years went on from when it first was built its been neglected and reestablished multiple times to stand and defend the thames estuary. its main goal was to shoot down any invading ships that enter the waters and was eventually expanded to help protect the land as well from anyone coming in over the marshland.
I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm. – Queen Elizabeth I
In 1691 Tilbury housed huge quantities of gun powder used to help stock ships passing through and had over 270 heavy guns ready to fire at any ships that dare attempt to make a pass, However along with its previous history it was left neglected whenever the wars ended and stood empty and while during the first world war it became essentially storage for ammunition and explosives. It was sadly barely used during the second world war besides anti aircraft operations and as of the 1950’s it has remained unused other than a lovely piece of history to walk around and being part of the English Heritage sites that you can visit all over England.
W A L K I N G T H R O U G H H I S T O R Y
Neil and I have been to Tilbury Fort before, back when we first started dating so I knew what and where we needed to walk around, starting at the little church above the shop and entrance. From there we started to walk around the fort outside, Kai very much liked pretending to shoot out of the wholes where the big guns used to sit and loved the opportunity to touch and play with a cannon which was facing out towards the marshland. The girls weren’t that keen on it all, However they did enjoy running around the grass and Robin spotted a pigeon.
There was lots of interesting facts scattered around in certain areas of the fort that explained the history and what went where. Trying to explain the children just how big these guns were by the size of the metal hoops that held them in place when they got fired was fun along with explaining how tiny the barracks are compared to the officers quarters. They also loved running through the tunnels which housed all the ammunition with an explanation of how and why it had to be underground to prevent static causing explosions.
After walking in the tunnels we headed up to the big guns on the top of the fort that face out towards the river, Once again the children got to feel and play with the inactive guns that stood proudly. These guns are honestly huge and felt really intimidating as I looked down the barrel out of curiosity and honestly my stomach dropped. Kai once again loved being able to touch them and play with them, one of the guns was movable and he could turn it around and pretend to fire and aim at the enemies.
While this day out was a fun one for all together I get the feeling Kai enjoyed it the most, as I said hes really into his history and enjoyed finding dates on some of the machinery, I hope to be able to take him to more Forts in future as its great to do something that Kai enjoys when the girls often trump him.
Once we had finished exploring the fort we went along the coast to visit south end and have fun at the seaside for a few hours playing mini golf, enjoying the arcades and finally enjoying a yummy chip dinner with a side of seaside doughnuts. It truly was a lovely day out and I am so thankful for Neil for driving us.
If you wish to visit Tilbury Fort yourself tickets are on sale on the English Heritage site.
Here are some more photos I took from the day.
If you want to read some more of our adventures then check out the adventures tag!