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Wessex Archaeology

Drakes Island, Plymouth


Heritage Assessment

Appendix One Gazetteer

Site Component Data Sheets

Ref: 78970.02 November 2011


Drakes Island
Heritage Assessment
Appendix One Gazetteer

1 INTRODUCTION TO GAZETTEER

1.1.1 This Gazetteer has been produced as part of a Heritage Assessment of Drakes
Island. The purpose of the Gazetteer is to provide an objective understanding of the
Site and its individual components, and thereby to assess the relative significance
of the individual components and the contribution they make to the overall
significance of this nationally important Site.

1.1.2 The Site comprises the whole of Drakes Island, a 2.6 ha. outcrop in Plymouth
Sound, situated c.900m to the south of the Hoe. The Site is centred on Ordnance
Survey National Grid Reference 46903 52818. Much of the island is designate a
Scheduled Monument, covering three non-contiguous areas (see Heritage
Assessment Figure 1).

1.1.3 The Scheduled Monument of The Coastal fortifications of Drakes Island (SAM
12614) comprises three designated areas. At the western end of the island, the
designated area includes the main entrance, coastal walls and the western gun
battery. A small area in the north-east of the island encloses a small area believed
to contain remains of a 16th century artillery tower. The largest area includes the
majority of the central and eastern parts of the island, enclosing the casemated
battery, and most of the later artillery batteries and magazines.

1.1.4 The island is an irregular wedge shape, aligned roughly north-west to south-east
along its long axis, and measures c.300m long, by c.150m wide at the east end,
reducing to c.90m wide at the west. The perimeter of the island is very irregular with
a mix of rocky cliffs, ledges and small bays.

1.1.5 The Site has been subject to a number of previous studies. The most
comprehensive previous survey of the Site was that undertaken by Andrew Pye of
Exeter Archaeology in conjunction with the Fortress Study Group SW and the
Cornwall Archaeological Unit as part of the extensive Plymouth Defences Survey
1991-1995. The results of this survey were published in the 1996 book The
Historic Defences of Plymouth (Pye & Woodward, 1996).

1.1.6 Pyes survey provided an itemised gazetteer of the individual buildings, structures
and other features of the site, and where possible, the numbering system allocated
in this survey was re-used in the current Wessex Archaeology survey. Each
individual component was identified by a unique identifier and a detailed description
of each component was made at this time and has been largely used today as they
are still relevant. The individual components are identified on Figure 2 of the
Heritage Assessment (reproduced here for ease of reference).

1.1.7 The Scheduled Monument of The Coastal fortifications of Drakes Island (SAM
12614) comprises three designated areas. At the western end of the island, the
designated area includes the main entrance, coastal walls and the western gun
battery. A small area in the north-east of the island encloses a small area believed
to contain remains of a 16th century artillery tower. The largest area includes the
majority of the central and eastern parts of the island, enclosing the casemated
battery, and most of the later artillery batteries and magazines.

1.1.8 As this survey was undertaken over 15 years ago, it was considered appropriate
that the Site and its components should be re-surveyed as part of the present
assessment, in order, primarily, to assess present condition. The updated
descriptions, condition and assessment of significance are presented as a set of
Site Component Data Sheets, derived from an Access Database. Where possible,
Data Sheets contain a key photograph of the Site Component.

WA Project No. 78970


56

Pre-1830

1830s

1860s

Pre-World War 1
1
52900 World War 2
10 9
2
Post-World War 2
10 8
2 Inferred location of St. Nicholas Chapel
11 1

37 12 Area above the high water mark


36 7
3 36 1
( Approximate component location
14 60
38 57
4
60 61
13
16
39
4 40 41 42 61 54
43 15
39 44
18
60 55
45 31 33
61 35 32
47 35 18
5 46 49
60 34

60 66
6 48 59 63 53 18
62
30
64 66
51c
50 51b
52800 51a
51 34
52 66
6 50a 18

29
66
34 29
19
66 66
29 20
34 21 18

24 25 Contains Ordnance Survey data Crown copyright and database right 2011.
26
28 Site plan provided by the client.
26 22

27 23

Revision Number: 3

Illustrator: RAM
Date: 9/12/2011

Scale: 1:1000 at A3
0 20 40 Metres Path: X:\PROJECTS\78970\
246800

246900

247000
52700

Drakes Island Surface features by phase Figure 2


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Main Gateway and adjoining coastal wall 01

No image available

Description
The gateway has dressed granite jambs and voussoirs, and leads via a stairway up through a
brick barrel-vaulted passage into a courtyard [No7] and then through another narrow gateway
into the interior. The wall containing the main gateway appears contemporary; is built of
roughly coursed rubble masonry with coursed granite ashlar below, and granite ashlar quoins.
The top metre or so is straight; the remainder is steeply battered. It is topped by a granite
coping course above which there is a later wall and a projecting granite crane/winch platform.

The wall continues west and then north-north-west, where it includes a modern section
containing a viewing window with concrete thresholds and quoins. The older build continues
to the north-west, although the lower part is rubble stone and not granite ashlar; closer study
may reveal more changes of build. At the next turn to the north-west there is a possible 18th
cent. gun embrasure (No. 8) with a possible granite theshold; its east side is modern work.

The wall continues north-westwards and then turns sharply south-westwards; the quoins are
rubble stone. Towards the south-west end of this section, where it underlies the mens' WCs,
the top part has been rebuilt at some point, probably when the WC's were constructed. It
appears to abut the next section of wall (No. 2), although the relationship is not entirely clear.

Condition
Although becoming overgrown with ivy the main lower gateway and walling is visible and
appears sound. The double iron gates have become detached fom the pintles set in the face
of the wall. The masonry around the upper courtyard area and the steps and path slabs are all
sound although becoming overgrown. The iron work around the granite winch platform
including the pulley frame and railings is rusting but appears to be relatively sound. What
appears to be a late 19th century door leading to the upper interior is still extant but will need
re-hanging
The internal section of walling with the picture window is sound and the capping stones are all
present. The internal sloping ground has become overgrown and so the base was not seen
The north-east facing coastal wall around the gateway also appears sound with only minor
patches of vegetation growing between gaps in the pointing. The top of the wall has become
very overgrown and it was not possible to see how the capping stones (if any) are being
damaged by the undergrowth.
Further around to the north the coastal wall remains fairly sound but there is denser vegetation
growing out from the face of the wall and particulary along the step between two phases of
wall and along the top parapet.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Main Gateway and adjoining coastal wall 01


Discussion and Assessment of Significance
On the site of the gateway shown on Robert Adams plan of 1592, the present gateway is
thought to be 18th century. Representing the main controlled access point from the sheltered,
or protected, north side of the island, it forms a well preserved key component in the surviving
perimeter wall and provides the principal pedestrian access point. The visitor is channelled up
and through a narrow flight of steps, across a small courtyard with high walls surrounding it
and through a covered door opening. This leads to the main accommodation area of the
island. The section of walling to the west of the main entrance may have earlier origins but will
require a more detailed survey to correctly understand its development. It is the first feature
that the vistor to the island is presented with and therefore retains a high level of prominence.
The gateway and associated walling represent a moderately high level of significance given
their key role and position.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Coastal Wall 02

No image available

Description
This is vertical and leans slightly outwards at the top. Above and set back from it is a further
stretch of wall. No loop-holes or blocked embrasures are visible in either from the foreshore.
Is of roughly-coursed limestone build, with an occasional sandstone inclusion. The buttress at
the western corner and the section of wall to the S.W. may be of recent origin as it does not
appear on the 1951 survey. Beyond it kinks and the earlier build continues S.W.; its end has
been eroded since 1951.

Condition
The top half of this section of coastal walling is completely overgrown and could not be
viewed. The lower half appears sound but is becoming increasingly covered in vegetation.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This section of walling faces the north and possibly dates to the 18th century when it appears
on Dixon's map of 1780 as part of proposals in this part of the island. Its general condition is
good however the top is overgrown with no discernable features. It remains as a prominent
feature especially from the northern approaches and therefore constitutes part of a key
component including the other surviving sections of 18th century coastal wall. It is part of a
defined period of re-fortification of the island and therefore can be considered to have a
moderately high level of significance, and to contribute to the group value of contemporary
features.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Tower and adjoining wall 03

No image available

Description
Consists of a rectangular masonry tower projecting from the coastal wall at the W. end of the
island; is topped by a loopholed wall (No 38; thought to date to the 18th century). It contains
two possible 19th century brick barrel vaulted cubicles with windows, until recently used as
toilets. The length of coastal wall to the north is slightly battered at the bottom but vertical
above, very similar character to No. 2 and probably originally continuous. In the tower there
appears to be a change in build halfway down although this may be just due to repointing.

Condition
Part of the north side wall adjoining the tower appears to be partly collapsed and overgrown, a
build line might be visible as a result of vegetation growing on the seaward side ledge. The
upper loop holed section is sound but again becoming overgrown on the top.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This section of walling and stone tower are thought to have once been continous with the
coastal wall 02. It represents a section of fortified wall of 18th century origin which may have
replaced earlier gun emplacements. Contributing to group value, together with other sections
of coastal wall, it retains a moderately high level of significance.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Coastal wall 04

No image available

Description
In effect a continuation of No. 3 although it is of several phases, of which the loop-holed wall
(No 38) appears to be one of the latest. The earliest build appears to be the heavily
weathered rubble walling just below the loop-holed wall, which is probably post-dated by an
area of battered granite walling to the south with a sloping top. Above this is a vertical section
of mixed limestone granite rubble walling underlying the loop-holed wall (No 38). To the south
there is a very fine ashlar limestone walling, topped by rubble walling and also at least another
phase of granite walling. Above this, is a quoin of a possible limestone building. This wall
really requires a proper survey.

Condition
This section of walling was difficult to access and had to be assessed from the water in a boat.
Identified as having several phases it appeared sound with no breaks in the masonry.The fine
ashlar section is stable and the rubble walling on top has become overgrown along its top.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Section of coastal wall which appears to have several phases of build. The earliest remains
are probably part of the 18th century coast wall shown on Dixons proposal map of 1780. Due
to the various phases of build noted in this wall it is likley that it has been the subject of
rebuilding at various times. When taken as part of a group value and representative of a
phase of re-fortification of the island it therefore retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Coastal Wall 05

No image available

Description
Very fine-quality limestone ashlar masonry, on alignment shown on Dixon's 1780 plan. Below
high tide mark stonework has rough undressed faces. Has been patched with brick and other
rubble material. Above high tide mark it has limestone ashlar quoins, and is steeply battered;
no coping stones visible, topped by a very recent limestone rubble wall possibly contemporary
with the 1898 12-pounder QF battery above. It presumably continues around the corner to the
north east.

Condition
Well preserved section of high walling appearing sound and free from breaks. Access difficult
and seen from the water. Several phases of build noted with only the top most rubble build
susceptible to erosion.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Well preserved section of coast wall which probably appears on Dixons proposal map of 1780.
As part of a group together with the other sections provide a significant group value so that,
although individual sections of coast walling have been identified, and to various extents, been
altered or repaired, together they retain a moderately high level of significance.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Coastal Wall 06

No image available

Description
A similar stretch of battered limestone ashlar walling; S. section not shown on 1780 or 1811
plans, possible 1860's ; walling of one phase with later mixed rubble stonework above with
some later repairs. It mostly seems to be a retaining wall although there may have been some
infill behind, perhaps when 1860's upper RML battery of 1900 BL battery constructed.

Condition
Identified as several phases of build with lower ashlar work and upper rubble. The sea has
compromised this wall and broken through leaving a large hole. Stones have been washed out
and can be seen lying on the rocky foreshore. The upper part of the wall is therefore unstable
and is in imminent danger of further collapse.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Possibly a later section of coastal wall than others. The two clear build lines probably
represent a rebuilding or raising of the lower level. It has been built across a prominent inlet in
the rocks but does not appear to show any evidence of being a gun site or emplacement.
Although it differs in some respects from the main group of coastal wall sections, it is
considered to be part of a later re-fortification of this part of the island. Its present condition
threatens imminent collapse and if not repaired would no doubt lead to the loss of a heritage
asset. Due to this poor condition, the feature retains only a moderate level of significance.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Entrance courtyard and inner gateway 07

No image available

Description
Courtyard protected on E. & N. by a parapet wall with a firing-step behind. The firing step is
paved with granite and the parapet wall has granite coping stones, topped by a later granite
crane/winch base. The steps on the firing step at the north-east corner are secondary and
relatively modern. There is a viewing platform at the southern end of the firing-step adjoining
the main gate. Access to the firing-step was via steps at the north-east corner. The wall
around the rear of the courtyard appears to have been built after the gateways.

The inner gateway has a fine granite pediment above, and ashlar jambs of granite and local
stone. Its passage has a brick vaulted roof and masonry walls.

Condition
Entrance courtyard masonry appears sound although becoming overgrown. The iron winch
railing and frame appear sound with no sign of collapse

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As part of the fortified principal pedestrian entrance to the island it is first partly depicted on
the 1780 Dixon proposal map. Although the upper covered gate entrance is not shown, the
raised courtyard is complete with firing step to the east overlooking the landing place. The
covered entrance is clearly shown on the 1811 map so the two phases can be accurately
dated and therefore represent the continued use of this primary access point.
The entrance courtyard and inner gateway remain in good condition and still retain much of
their character and original features and therefore retain a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Probable gun embrasure 08

No image available

Description
Faces N.E. covering approach to main gate; north side of a splayed opening survives and
lined with 18/19th century brick. Paved with granite flags with groove along parapet wall; this
turns into embrasure but is below level of bottom of brickwork, suggesting it has either been
relaid in situ or the embrasure has been lowered later. South wall formed by modern build
containing ornamental archway. A vestige of mortar on top of the granite slab indicates that
the brick facing may have continued down to this level; the granite flags to the rear slope
upwards at the angle necessary to absorb the recoil of a gun. Most of the granite flags within
the area of the embrasure have been relaid at the same time as the ornamental archway was
constructed.

Condition
Probable gun embrasure overlooking the jetty approach. The masonry is sound and the
capping stones are still in place. The wooden framing in the picture window has become
detached from the masonry. The ground is becoming overgrown so the surface was not visible.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Identified as the remains of a possible gun embrasure of the 18th or early 19th century, this
feature only survives as a partial opening overlooking the approach to the main gate. Much
altered, the potential significance has been reduced by loss of fabric and therefore retains only
a moderate to low level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Coal Store (later Guardhouse) 09

No image available

Description
There appears to have been some confusion about the original function of this building. It is
shown on a late 19th century map as a 'Coal Store', but the listing description asserts that it
was later used as a guardhouse.
A small rectangluar stone structure with a hipped slate roof. It has two doorways in the south-
east wall, one of which has been blocked, with a window in between; probably 19th century in
date. It appears to have been heightened at some point. The area to the rear is filled in with
soil so the rear wall is not visible. Also occupied by men's WC's which is now roofless.

The building is listed, Grade II


The listing description reads:
PLYMOUTH
SX45SE DRAKE'S ISLAND 740-1/7/238 Guardhouse 19/12/90

GV II

Original function not known but later used as a guardhouse. Early C19 with later C19
alterations. Slate and limestone rubble with granite quoins, and with brick arches and
patching; dry slate hipped roof. Small single-cell rectangular building. The original building was
square with a central doorway and it appears to have been extended on the left [SW] side.
Single storey; asymmetrical SE front. Doorway to right with cambered red brickwork and
planked door; small square window to its left and small window on left above blocked opening.
INTERIOR: no features of interest observed.

Condition
Some overgrowth had been cleared in this area. It is in gradual decline, the main walls survive
but it has no roof. No access into the interior. The roof of the toilets to the rear is also missing
and it is all becoming overgrown again after recent clearance.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Constructed by the late 19th century and described as a 'coal store' on the late 19th century
map.This feature remains in a poor condition with no roof. Likely to have been further altered
during the 20th century its use began and continued to be utilitarian. It lacks reference to
military fortification and represents one of the structures reflecting the domestic side to island
military life. Its location may have originated from the importance of access to coal. This being
protected by the close proximity to the guardhouse. The potential significance has been
reduced by poor condition and loss of fabric and therefore it retains only moderate to low
significance.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Wall and firing step 10

No image available

Description
A masonry wall topped by a bank, lying in front of the former Commanding Officer's house
and facing N. and N.E. Has a probable firing step at its rear, which originally extended further
west (see 1961 survey) demolished with "dining room". The wall running south from its west
end is a later feature and abuts wall [11] and at its south end contains a half filled possible
cupboard; this has ventilation bricks in its side walls and possibly housed electrics.

Condition
Stepped profile is still visible but the length of wall is very overgrown with some scrub trees
growing along its base. These may be having an effect of the foundations of the wall.
Presently topped with scaffold hand rail. Flat area to the south suggest that a building once
stood here. Unable to see if capping stones survive under foilage.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This feature would appear to originate in the 18th century as a wall is shown in this position in
1725 and the more detailed Dixon map of 1780 shows the wall with firing step. Facing north, it
provided musket cover to the northern approaches to the island as part of the 18th century
earthwork fortifications and was therefore a crucial part of this surviving phase. Its location
meant that no large battery of guns was overbuilt in this location so it retains a moderately
high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Wall and firing-step 11

No image available

Description
Thick wall with earthen core and double firing step behind; located in front of barrack block
and facing N.W. Originally extended eastwards along and above rear of No. 10 depicted on
1780 and 1811 maps. Firing step presently being used as a garden.

Condition
Although becoming overgrown and once used as a garden or flower bed the firing step profile
is still visible. The masonry appears stable and in good condition but it is assumed that the fire
step stones have been removed to create the flower bed. The top of the wall has become very
overgrown. Previous survey spoke of 'double' firestep, this could not be seen at this time.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


A late 18th century fortification in good condition. Most recently used as a garden it retains
much of its original character including firing step. One of the better features of this type and
when taken with the other surviving elements of this type it retains a moderately high level of
significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

18th century Guardhouse and 19th century Commanding Offi 12

No image available

Description
This is a two-storey structure, extended first to the north and then to the east. The earliest
build is visible at the southern end of the west wall and consists of a central doorway which
has later been shortened to a window, flanked by two windows, the southern of which has
later been converted into a doorway. The jambs and quoins are of local stone, a mixture of
sandstone and shillet, and contain no ashlar limestone. The first extension has granite quoins
and windows of very high quality. The later extension has limestone ashlar quoins and
thresholds in typical Royal Engineers style and may therefore date to the 1860's. It has a
contemporary outshot to the east with two doorways.

There is a walled garden to the east and rear; the south wall has granite quoins, and is slightly
battered; there is another later build to the east.

At some point an outshot has been added onto the south wall of the earliest building, with
access above to the first floor. Later another outshot has been added to the side, most
recently used as toilets.

Condition
The building was only visually inspected externally. Two storeys, with granite quoins and
rubble walling exposed at ground floor level. The first floor is rendered. All windows and doors
are boarded over for security. Rainwater goods and gutters are beginning to fail. Pitched and
slated roof appears weather tight but no information regarding the condition of the interiors is
currently available.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Part of this building originate in the 18th century when a guardhouse is depicted here on
Dixon's map of 1780. Much altered and extended, the original character has been largely lost
due to the later additions and alterations. Its prominent position, covering the main entrance,
and materials used in its construction are important factors. Together with the other standing
buildings it presents part of a significant group value and therefore retains a moderate level of
significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Artillery Store 13

No image available

Description
This is labelled Artillery Store on 1911 O.S. and 1951 survey, and is located to the rear of the
1830's ablution block [14]. Rectangular masonry building, originally was probably flat-roofed
or gable ended, as the end walls above the doorway seem to have been rebuilt for the present
monopitch roof. The doorway has been reduced in height and lined with brick. The original
lintel is still present and is of Royal Engineer's style, suggesting it may be of 1860's indate. It
has single windows in the north and west-facing walls. Used as a store and possible briefing
rooom by the Groundwork Trust in the late 20th century.

Condition
Stone rubble walls and the door and window are boarded over. No internal access. Survey of
this building to carried out by others so only rapid external inspection. Mono-pitched roof
covered in slate appeared to be weather tight although cant be sure internally. Gutter and
downpipe still present and appear to be working.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Would appear to date to the mid 19th century during the significant re-fortification of the
island in the 1860s. Reflecting a utilitarian storage rather than defensive function it still
retains much of its original character despite some minor alterations. When taken as part of
the built-up area of the island, forming as it does, part of a distinct separate area of buildings
away from the main armament zones, it retains a moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Ablution block 14

No image available

Description
A long rectangular building is shown at this location and labelled 'Stores' on the 1896 plan of
the island. Whether or not this is the building later converted to provide an Ablution block is
not clear, but it is considered likely. It post-dates the construction of the original eastern part of
the Barrack Block [36], and may be contemporary with the extension of that building to the
west in the 1830s.. A two storey limestone structure with gable-ended pitched roof, aligned
east-west, located to the rear of the barrack block [36] The rear of the ground floor backs
onto an external passage with a retaining wall at its rear, crossed by bridges providing access
into the first floor; access into ground floor from north. First floor is decorated; interconnecting
rooms, some with internal partitions added and original iron fireplace in second room from the
east; this has VR monogram above it. First floor therefore contained accomodation; ground
floor presumably wash rooms. Currently empty, except east room which is used as a common
room.

This building is Listed Grade II


Description;
PLYMOUTH

SX45SE DRAKE'S ISLAND 740-1/7/235 Ablution Blocks 19/12/90

GV II

Barracks ablution block. c1830-35. Stone rubble, faced in dressed limestone to S and E sides;
dry slate roof with coped gable ends; rendered stack at W end. Rectangular plan, the ground
floor with doorways to the N front, 1st-floor doorways to S front from higher ground level. The
ground floor probably contained washrooms and the 1st floor may have served as living
accommodation. 2 storeys; 6-bay S front with doorways to C20 porches; 12-pane sashes to
bays 3, 4 and 5. The porches are on bridges over deep area to ground floor with access to
area from east and behind a high wall stepped down to north. N elevation has various
windows and doorways to ground floor and one 1st-floor window. INTERIOR: of ground floor
much altered otherwise not inspected (1990 list description).
We did not go into the first floor, we only looked at the ground floor which appeared to have
been stripped of any features of interest.

Condition
External visual inspection only in 2011. Two storeys with stone facing. Some previously
blocked openings on ground floor have been compromised and brikon open. Pitched and
slated roof appears weather tight but rainwater goods are beginning to fail.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Ablution block 14
Discussion and Assessment of Significance
Reflecting one aspect of domestic life on the island this building formed part of a crucial
function during the 19th century when welfare of the soldiers manning the island fortifications
were improving.
When taken as part of the wider group of buildings in this area it retains a moderate level of
significance.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Crane base/tower 15

No image available

Description
This is a masonry tower built into the rock on the north shore of the island to the rear of the
modern concrete quay. It is built of roughly-coursed rubble with limestone with some granite
quoins and a granite base. There are stanchions for a ladder up one side with iron fittings at
the bottom. It was originally topped with a granite coping course, now topped with a concrete
platform for a crane. There is a granite string-course two-thirds of the way up, so perhaps it
may have been raised in height at some point, and it also narrows slightly above this point.
There is a masonry relieving arch to the west and the stub of a contemporary wall to the east.
Above it to the east is a fortified loop-holed wall (No 54). Shown on 1780 pland but not 1725
one.

Condition
The lower half is still visible and appears to be sound masonry with no signs of compromise.
The upper half is becoming overgrown with ivy and the walling is not visible. Modern metal A
frame crane apparatus still standing on top of the crane platfrom with secure metal hand rail.
Surrounding cliff face overgrown.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This dates to the 18th century and would appear to have been altered or raised at some point
later. Its position overlooks the approaches to the island from the north but it does not seem to
conform to the contemporay defence installations of this period. Not depicted as a gun
platform, its use may always have been as a crane base to lift materials and equipment up to
the higher levels bypassing the tortuous route through the main gate. An imposing structure
none-the-less, it provides part of the 'first impression' when approaching the island from the
north and along the jetty. Used most recently as a crane base with modern crane at the top it
still reflects, in its build material, a local tradition using stone rubble and therefore retains a
moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Polygonal Tower 16

No image available

Description
This is located at the north-east corner of the island and has been identified by James Barber
as a possible mid 16th-century fortification. It is about 4m in height and built of roughly
coursed rubble. There are no obvious windows or gun-ports either extant or blocked, except a
ragged (as viewed from outside) opening which has been cut through it north west face. The
top is largely overgrown. Its condition appears reasonable. It is not marked clearly on any of
the maps.

The interior is entered through a brick lined trap-door of which little of the original work
survived except on the northern side where there is a curved roughly rendered masonry wall.
The roof is brick barrel-vaulted possible 19th cent. in date. The contemporary entrance
always seems to have been through the roof, although the present hatch may be later. The
side walls supporting the vault abut the earlier front room is clearly secondary to the tower,
and may represent a 19th cent. or earlier conversion into a tank or cistern. The lower part of
the front wall has a skin of later brick walling and the lower part of the structure to the rear has
been cut into the rock. The rendering may be realitively recent. It may therefore be an early
blockhouse, subsequently converted into a tank or cistern of some kind.

About 5-6m to the east there is a short stretch of rubble walling which appears to be drystone.
Its relationship with the tower is not clear; it is probably a continuation of No.18 to the east.

Condition
Visible only from the water with no access possible from the top due to tree and undergrowth
cover. Only the lower portion of the walling is visble but appears to be stable and secure. The
top may be compromised by the amount of dense undergrowth on it and its security can be
vouched for.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Remains a somewhat enigmatic feature that may represent one of the earliest surviving
fortifications on the island. Studied by earlier surveys it was not possible to ascertain its prsent
condition but was assumed to be little changed structurally but has become very overgrown.
Identified as a possible 16th century polygonal tower with 19th century alterations it may
represent a link with the earliest defences on the island retaining, as it does, a traditional build
quality. Given these factors the feature would beneifit from a detailed survey to establish its
origins and legibility as a 16th century feature. With this in mind the feature retains a
moderately high level of significance.

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Component Data Sheet

Landing ramp or jetty 17

No image available

Description
A pier and a small jetty are marked on the OS 1911 plan. Pye's survey of 1996 noted that the
granite foundations of the end of the pier still remained at that time on the foreshore, but were
covered at high tide. He notes that it consisted of large ashlar granite blocks with a rubble
core. Possibly an 1860s gun ramp.

Condition
This feature noted on previous survey could not be seen

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This offshore feature was not identified during the survey but is assumed to be of 19th century
date.
A landing place or access point appears to be represented in this approximate location on the
earliest map of 1592 and subsequently on all later maps. Given the likely changes to such a
feature over time it is likely that the original structure may only partly survive and given its
location and condition it retains only a low level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


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Component Data Sheet

Coastal Wall 18

No image available

Description
Runs around the eastern end of the island from the landing ramp above, until truncated by late
19th cent. Searchlight emplacements (No 23). Probably originally continous with Nos 22 & 24
to the east; shown on 1780 and 1725 plans. Has a slightyl battered profile and consists of
rubble stone masonry with dressed quoins, mostly of limestone or other local stone; some
granite evident below WWII Gun emplacement (No. 30). Heavily overgrown towards northern
end.

Condition
Only viewed from the water much of this feature is overgrown. Probably altered by WWII
emplacements above as concrete portals are visible in face of wall. Where visible, the
masonry appears sound with no signs of collapse but the covered areas cannot be vouched for

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


When included as part of the 18th century coastal wall defences of the island this stretch of
coastal wall provides an important component representing this period of fortifications. It
therefore retains a moderate level of significance

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Component Data Sheet

WWII Searchlight position 19

No image available

Description
Pye describes three searchlights at this location, [19], [20] and [21], cut into earlier coastal
wall No 18. While he achieved access to these features, at the time of the 2011 survey, no
access was possible. The original access is assumed to be represented by the infilled hollow
in the ground to their rear. From the seaward side, only two searchlight positions were seen,
and the evidence of a third remains unclear.

Condition
Visible from the water better, concrete slits in the coast wall survive well. An open void in the
ground above suggests strongly that there is a below ground chamber of some sort. Although
narrow, it may open out. The surface of the ground above the feature is overgrown.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Part of a group of searchlight positions which formed an important component with the twin
6pdr gun emplacement. The unique position of Drakes island allows for low level defences for
use against attack from the sea. The purpose of these searchlight positions was to counter the
increased threat of small motor torpedo boats used by the German navy . These vessels were
small and fast and had the capability of night attack. The searchlight position enabled
adequate low level coverage to Plymouth sound and was assisted by other searchlights
positioned at Mount Batten. Any enemy attack by small fast vessels could be countered by the
rapid firing twin gun above. The interior of these emplacements was not viewed but is
assumed to be sound if somewhat damaged. But given their vital role in this kind of defence
they retain a moderately high level of significance

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Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

WWII Searchlight Position 20

No image available

Description
See [19], contemporary with twin 6 pdr gun emplacement [30]. Pye's survey of 1996 noted
that it still retained some of its armoured-plating on the inside of the window slits. It consisted
then of a brick-built structure rendered in cement with some shuttered concrete around the
slits. All three are topped by a contemporary or slightly later brick loop-holed wall [29].
Access not gained to any of the searchlights, which were presumably originally accessed via a
largely infilled possible stairway to rear.

Condition
Visible from the water better, concrete slits in the coast wall survive well. An open void in the
ground above suggests strongly that there is a below ground chamber of some sort. Although
narrow, it may open out. The surface of the ground is overgrown.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Part of a group of searchlight positions which formed an important component with the twin
6pdr gun emplacement. The unique position of Drakes island allows for low level defences for
use against attack from the sea. The purpose of these searchlight positions was to counter the
increased threat of small motor torpedo boats used by the German navy . These vessels were
small and fast and had the capability of night attack. The searchlight position enabled
adequate low level coverage to Plymouth sound and was assisted by other searchlights
positioned at Mount Batten. Any enemy attack by small fast vessels could be countered by the
rapid firing twin gun above. The interior of these emplacements was not viewed but is
assumed to be sound if somewhat damaged. But given their vital role in this kind of defence
they retain a moderately high level of significance

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Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

WWII Searchlight position 21

No image available

Description
See [19]; the fronts of each position have two wall planes at angles to one another, each
containing one window slit. No armour-plating visible. On the foreshore below there is a block
of dressed granite which originally held the racer rail for the traversing carriage of a gun, date
unknown. It may have belonged to the battery which preceded the 1860's casemated battery.

Condition
Visible from the water better, concrete slits in the coast wall survive well. An open void in the
ground above suggests strongly that there is a below ground chamber of some sort. Although
narrow, it may open out. The surface of the ground is overgrown.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Part of a group of searchlight positions which formed an important component with the twin
6pdr gun emplacement. The unique position of Drakes island allows for low level defences for
use against attack from the sea. The purpose of these searchlight positions was to counter the
increased threat of small motor torpedo boats used by the German navy . These vessels were
small and fast and had the capability of night attack. The searchlight position enabled
adequate low level coverage to Plymouth sound and was assisted by other searchlights
positioned at Mount Batten. Any enemy attack by small fast vessels could be countered by the
rapid firing twin gun above. The interior of these emplacements was not viewed but is
assumed to be sound if somewhat damaged. But given their vital role in this kind of defence
they retain a moderately high level of significance

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Component Data Sheet

Coastal Wall 22

No image available

Description
Apparent later walling running up to and southwards from the 19th-century wall [18]. It may
have had some earlier build at the bottom which has broken away, and may itself be of two
phases; obscured by repointing.

Condition
Relatively short section of wall appears to be sound and pointing is good the top is overgrown
but this may be providing some protection

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Section of coastal wall of indeterminate date but probably post 19th century. Retains a
moderately low level of significance

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Component Data Sheet

Late 1890s searchlight position 23

No image available

Description
Previously thought to be a Brennan torpedo station; appear as searchlights on an 1895 sketch
plan, probably for the 3 guns of the 6" BL battery completedin 1901.

Pye's survey of 1996 noted that it consisted of three underground chambers facing south out
over foreshore; located within old coastal wall (which has been demolished) outside
casemates Nos 3-5. Access via a ramp built within casemate No 4, which leads into a
passage; this is brick lined and contains two possible electrics cupboard/niches. Constructed
of concrete with brick lining and concrete roofs. The eastern chamber (a) has a straight brick
parapet wall at the front, through which a stairway has later been cut and a concrete wall with
doorway inserted above. This opens onto a semi-circular concrete platform fronted by a
concrete wall with a masonry skin.

The central chamber (b) has a curved parapet wall, cut by a stairway, and subsequently
blocked with concrete. Outside there is another concrete platform, presumably, as above for a
letter ?WWII searlight serving the remaining two 6" guns. The western chamber (c) is the
same as (a) except it has no inserted stairway, and there is a blocked rectangular opening
above with iron surrounds; probably the original c.1900 searchlight opening. Outside there are
two iron pins in the rock, and the chamber lies above a rock cleft, unlike the others which face
out onto a rock headland.

Unlikely to be a torpedo station as no engine room, launching rails, torpedo store, or launching
ramp evident; also evidence of the 1895 sketch.

Condition
No Access into the interior was possible but it is assumed that the interior of these
underground chambers is extant and as the previous survey. The appatures of the three
searchlight emplacements have been blocked up and the masonry and concrete structures
that once projected out from the face of the wall have all been removed by the sea with some
blocks of masonry visible on the shore line. The platform stone and concrete foundations are
visible on the rocks.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This feature was at one time thought to be the site of a 'Brennan' torpedo station. A brennan
was a shore-fired wire-guided system developed in the late 19th century. A well recorded
torpedo station is located at Pier Cellars near Penlee and the site on Drakes island lacks any
engine room, launching rails, torpedo store or launching ramp as were recorded at Pier
Cellars. These chambered searchlight positions cover the south approach to the sound.

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Component Data Sheet

Late 1890s searchlight position 23


Access is gained into them via a sloping ramp located in casemate 4. The ramp was
presumably used for larger equipment. Possibly serving the three guns of the 6" battery
completed in 1901. The projecting searchlight structures have all been badly affected by the
sea and most of them are largely destroyed, save for some foundations seen on the rocks.
Therefore, even though they represent a unique feature from this period, due to the erosion of
these features, they retain only a moderate level of significance.

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Component Data Sheet

Coastal Wall 24

No image available

Description
Two fragments of relatively early walling lying to each side and under the WWII mine control
tower (No 25); a further section is visible immediately south of casemate 3. The section to the
west of the tower forms a corner and is of very rough rubble masonry, with no string-course,
quoins, or coping stones. Relate in part to wall on 1780 plan.

Condition
Walling difficult to identify as being separate to 23. Wall could not be accurately identified next
to mine control tower 25. But all walling in this area appears to be sound with no obvious signs
of failer. The sea is pounding this particular area hard during stormy weather.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This section of coastal wall has been identified as 18th century. Difficult to identify, it may have
been partly eroded and as such retains only moderately low level of significance

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Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

WWII Mine Control Tower. 25

No image available

Description
Of shuttered concrete construction and appears to be complete from the exterior; polygonal
shape, with viewing slits on two levels facing south, the lower one retains a groove for an iron
shutter. Blocked door and brick stair lead onto foreshore to east.

Condition
Concrete polygonal tower in good condition with access stairs to east still extant but doorway
blocked with brick. Access into the interior was through shield door from casemate 34.01. The
interior is basically sound but the viewing window slits have no protection from the weather.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


The approaches to Plymouth Sound were covered by mine fields during WWII. This feature
survives as a stark imposition on the earlier 1860s Casemated Battery [34] contrasting with its
curving planform. Constructed from in-situ cast concrete it provided control over the access
through the minefields monitoring ships as they entered and left Plymouth Sound. If any
invasion or incursion was reported this control tower had the capability of setting off mine
charges in the Sound. Representing, as it does, a complex of WWII fortifications, the last
significant development on the island, the feature retains a moderately high level of
significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Wall 26

No image available

Description
This is a short and very overgrown stretch of rubble walling located on S. slope to west of
1860's casemated battery; shown on 1725 plan but not on any later ones. Built of very small
stones, no coping stones evident. Not in very good condition; partly buried.

Condition
Walling not seen. Wall could not be accurately identified next to mine control tower 25, it may
be overgrown and not visible. The sea is pounding this particular area hard.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


If this section of walling survives it may represent an early survival of coastal defences. Given
that this overgrown stretch of walling was identified during the earlier survey and described as
'not in very good condition' it has to be assumed that it has potentially deteriorated further and
therefore retains a low level of significance

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Component Data Sheet

Observation post or searchlight position? 27

No image available

Description
A small building on foreshore in front of casemate 34.03; now demolished, though foundations
still visible. On 1951 plan has access steps to the rear.

Condition
Not much survives of this feature. A small section of concrete footing is all that can be seen.
The seaward edge is being battered by the sea.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


The poor condition of this feature and the lack of surviving fabric has compromised any
component value and therefore this feature retains low significance

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Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Observation post or searchlight position? 28

No image available

Description
Shown on 1951 plan as structure with 3-sided front wall, suggesting it was a Observation Post
rather than a Searchlight position. Now completely gone except for a slight terrace.

Condition
No sign of this feature could be found in 2011. The ground is very overgrown

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


The poor condition of this feature and the lack of surviving fabric has compromised any
component value and therefore this feature retains low significance

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Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Loop-holed wall 29

No image available

Description
This is brick-built with concrete loopholes, follows a zigzag course overlying WWII searchlights
Nos 19-21. Fronts lower area in front of casemates Nos 8-11, approached by flights of steps
at both ends. In the centre of the lower area there is a partly blocked possible access stair to
the searchlights. Previously thought to date to early 1900s, but clearly associated with and
contemporary with the WWII searchlights, for which it provides local defence against aircraft
or attempted landings. Area behind partly infilled. Access to the area was probably through
casemate No 11 since the iron plate has been removed and replaced by a brick wall with a
door in the centre. There are the remains of iron railing on top of the loop-holed wall at the
northern end.

Condition
The brickwork of this section of loop holed walling survives well although there is some minor
vegetation growth to the outside and inside faces which will, over time, damage the wall. If
there was any capping stones originally to the wall, they have gone leaving the top of the wall
exposed to weathering. The ground behind the wall was overgrown.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Possibly constructed as part of the defence of the twin gun battery and searchlight intallations
in 1942.
Well preserved and representative of this period and type of defence. The only WWII loop-
holed wall on the island it therefore retains a moderately high level of significance when
considered as part of a group.

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Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

World War II twin 6-pdr emplacement 30

No image available

Description
This still survives virtually complete although its superstructure has been demolished as have
the buildings and walling to its rear on the south side and also an associated direction post on
the roof of casemate No. 14 behind. However, the circular iron mountings for the gun still
remains intact as does one tackle loop on the side of the parapet. This is on two planes and
has a tarmac apron. A gutter runs around the rear of the emplacement, and around the top of
the wall forming the loading platform at the rear of the emplacement. There is a pair of iron
rails, pesumably for traversing the gun. In quite reasonable condition. It is unlikely to have
had much of a superstructure except armour plating against air attack, although there are
concrete pillars at the rear which may have formed the basis of a shelter of some kind. It does
not appear to have any equivalent to the magazine and other rooms which surrounds the rear
of the emplacements at Western Kings and Bovisand; the casemates would have been used
instead. In the rear wall are 5 store cupboards with iron door frames but no doors, for ready-
use ammunition. Access was via Casemate No.14 which has a brick wall with a doorway and
windows.

Condition
Well preserved gun platform retains its hold fast and traverse ring. The concrete in the base of
the gun pit is beginning to spall and break and some vegetation is taking hold. Otherwise it
appears sound.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


A well-preserved and significant feature relating to the low level coastal defences on the island
during the Second World War. Individually it survives as a fine example of this type of
emplacement although it does not retain its canopy or cowling. As part of a group of defensive
features, each serving a well defined purpose, including the searchlights and rear magazine, it
represents one of the most important type of defensive installation dating to this period. It
therefore retains a moderately high level of significance

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Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Walling/1860s traverse 31

No image available

Description
Very thick rubble stone walling, probably filled with earth or rubble; located on north side of
open stretch of covered way between the tunnel alongside the main magazine and the rear of
the casemates. N. side not visible because of vegetation.

Condition
Covered in a variety of vegetation including large trees. The profile is visible but the larger
trees may have damaged the structure. Where the lower stone wall is visible it appears to be
sound

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Overlooking the north approaches to the island this feature has been compromised by
vegetation but is still assumed to be in fair condition. It therefore retains a moderate level of
significance

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Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

WWII structure 32

No image available

Description
This is a polygonal shuttered concrete structure attached to the stores at the western end of
the 1860s casemates [34]. Has ventilation vents at roof level but no apparent windows or
other openings. It appears to be an extension. It may have been a small artillery store,
magazine or engine room; probably WW II In date. Entered from the south.

Condition
Concrete walls seem secure as does the cast concrete roof. The interior appears dry and was
until recently used as a store. Exterior becoming overgrown by light trees

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


An extension to the east end of the casemates this feature sits uncomfortably against the
earlier architecture and appears to have been of rapid construction. Probably built as a store it
served only a utiliarian purpose and therefore retains only a moderately low level of
significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

1860s store 33

No image available

Description
Two rooms attached to the north end of the casemates, labelled as coal and straw stores on
1895 plan. Connecting doorway blocked with brick and concrete roof added, probably when
structure No. 32 built. There is a stairway up onto the casemate roof immediately to the east.

Condition
Basically sound and dry interior. Door jamb stones are partly broken with some dressings
missing. Exterior being encroached upon by small trees

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Described as a coal and straw store and dating to the construction of the casemates in 1860
this building was designed as an intergral part of the casemates and even contained the
granite spiral staircase up onto the top of the casemates. It therefore it retains a moderately
high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

1860s Casemated Battery 34

No image available

Description
This Site component comprises the entire Casemated Battery which has been sub divided into
21 separate sub numbers 34.01- 34.21, all of which have individual entries in the gazetteer.
The Casemated Battery built in the 1860s formed the Lower Battery at this date, with the
Upper Battery on the high point of the island to the west. Dressed granite exterior with flat
roofs. Of the 21 casemates 9 retain their original thick iron blast plates and embrasures.
Several also retain mantlet bars. 3 retain their pre WW1 QF blast plates [34.15-34.17], the
remainder have various blockings of modern appearance whilst a single example (casemate
34.18) has been converted into a magazine serving the exterior WWII twin gun emplacement
[30].

Condition
The general condition of the battery is good, particularly on the seaward facing side. The rear
glazed screen walling survives less well, as do the internal fixtures and fittings. The relative
condition of survival of the individual casemates is discussed on their individual data sheets
34.01 - 34.2, and are presented in tabulated form in the main report Table 1.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Constructed in 1860 as part of arguably one of the largest programmes of coastal defences
around Plymouth. Unique in that Drake's Island is the only island fort in the area it formed part
of a wider programme of similar defensive forts and installations protecting the important port
of Plymouth. These included the Staddon Heights forts, western defence forts and north-east
defence forts. Principally designed to protect the southern approaches to Plymouth Sound,
Drakes island's lower and upper batteries formed the central 'hub' of a ring of defences. Its
imposing low level sweep of casemates are perhaps the most striking of images similar to
those at Fort Bovisand and the larger two-tier fort at Pickelcombe. The strong granite face is
still sound and some of the original steel blast-shields remain but since its completion the
casemates have been the subject of various re-armaments and changes over time. The upper
battery was demolished and replaced with later, more suitable, emplacements at the turn of
the 19th/20th centuries [50-52], but the Lower Casemated Battery has remained as the level
of protection has proved suitable for housing later guns, for which the individual casemates

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Component Data Sheet

1860s Casemated Battery 34


were altered to fit. As part of this unique set of defences it therefore retains a very high level of
significance.

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Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 01 34.01

No image available

Description
Retains the original timber framing of its rear screen wall. Later timber "porch" added.
Casemates 34.01-34.03 were used in the late 20th century by a radio station, and by possibly
Westcountry Television as a studio.

Condition
Much of the rear timber-framed screen wall survives although window glass is missing as is
some of the framing. Trees are beginning to encroach around the frame and if allowed to
continue, a combination of weather and roots may damage the rear wall frame further.
Internally this casemate was used by radio and televsion studio. Many of the fixtures and
fiitings from this use are stored inside including lighting frames fixed to the vaulted roof. Blast
shields are present and provide hatch access into 25. Floor level possibly built-up but this may
be as a result of the casemates stepping-up with the ground level

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


The front of this casemate has been compromised by the building of the WWII mine watch
tower [25]. The blast shield remains and has been used as an entrance into the mine control
tower and the interior has been altered to accommodate a tv studio. The floor surface has
been concreted over leaving no sign of the gun racer rings. The rear wall wooden framing
survives. As a component of the wider casemate it forms an important feature but due to the
later features compromising its condition it therefore retains a moderately high level of
significance

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Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 02 34.02

No image available

Description
The rear has been bricked up, as has [34.03].

Condition
As per the earlier survey the rear wall remains bricked up with no original wooden framing at
all. Internally part used as tv studio with many props still stored. Blast shields still present but
partly covered by later window frames. Vaulted roof painted white with some lighting frames
attached to roof

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Part of the south-west group of casemates this feature has been used most recently as part of
a tv studio.The rear wall does not exist but has been bricked up probably as part of the studio
works. As a component part of the whole casemate building it is important but as an individual
feature it retains a medium level of significance due to the loss of original fabric and fixtures

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Component Data Sheet

casemate 03 34.03

No image available

Description
Internally sound with well preserved blast shield with mantlet bars. Storage to right of
embrasure. Hoist ring in ceiling. Floor surface raised and in concrete. Rear wall part timber
boarded and part brick with window openings.

Condition
In fair condition with blast shield in place and storage lockers present. Floor level appears to
have been raised and re-surfaced in concrete. Whitewashed walls and vaulted ceiling. Rear of
casemates becoming overgrown

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


The original rear wall does not survive and the opening has been bricked up. As a component
part of the whole casemate building it is important but as an individual feature it is of a
moderately high level of significance due to the loss of fabric and fixtures

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Component Data Sheet

casemate 04 34.04

No image available

Description
Modified to hold the ramp down to the searchlights below (No 23). The front area has been
partitioned off from the rear; retains its blast shield. The floor has been concreted over. Iron
railings around top of ramped access and door and window opening to front blocked

Condition
This casemate has been modified to incorporate a concrete ramp down to the rear of
searchlight positions (23). Still has iron railings around top of access ramp slope. No rear wall
left and front of embrasure bricked up and not seen as access door and window opening are
blocked.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This casemate has been siginificantly changed and altered to provide a steep ramped access
down to the rear of the searchlight emplacements. A cross wall has sub-divded the original
casemate in two, concealing the gun embrasure from view. As part of a group value in relation
to the searchlight position it is an important component and retains a high level of significance
but as part of the casemated battery it has lost some significance due to its loss of original
fabric, scope of later alteration, and the obscuring of the gun position.

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casemate 05 34.05

No image available

Description
This still retains its rear wall and timber-framing. It has a later brick floor at a lower level to
those of 34.04, 34.03, and 34.02 which step up; the end of the granite sett holding the racer
rings for 34.04 survives in 34.05. Retains its shield, but has lost the looped, pivoting bars
within the embrasure.

Condition
well preserved embrasure with blast shield and mantlet bar. Two storage recesses either side.
Floor is concrete and the rear timber framed wall survives well but no door and one window
missing. Ivy encroaching over frame

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Well preserved casemate retains a high level of significance

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Component Data Sheet

casemate 06 34.06

No image available

Description
Floor covered with cement screed. Retains its mantlet bars at the front and tackle loop in the
ceiling with a puley loop behind. The presence of this pulley in all casemates suggests that it
is an original feature. Has lost its rear wall.

Condition
Still well preserved example. Mantlet bars still extant over the blast shields as are the tackle
and pulley loops in the ceiling. Floor surface is concrete. No rear wall with some tree growth
beginning.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


With no rear wall the casemate has lost some heritage value but remains a well preserved
example and retains very high significance. It still has blast shields with mantlet bar and
hinged hangers.

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casemate 07 34.07

No image available

Description
This survives in largely complete condition except for the loss of its rear wall. It has a brick
floor and includes the inner and outer racer rings, both of which are set into granite setts.
There is also a further outer racer ring which appears to be set into concrete. Original bar and
mantlet fittings still survive, together with the timberwork in the archways into the neighbouring
casemates.

Condition
The best surviving examples. Inner and outer racer rings visible set in granite setts and in a
brick floor. A further outer racer ring is still visible set in concrete. No rear wall. Blast shield
present and so are mantlet bars.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Despite the rear wall missing this casemate remains as the best surviving example which still
has racer rings exposed in the floor surface and together with blast shield and mantlet bar and
hangers it retains a very high level of significance

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Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 08 34.08

No image available

Description
This has a tiled floor; it still retains its mantlet bar, shield and tackle loop in the ceiling,
together with pulley and original woodwork at the rear. Store recessess on both sides of the
embrasure.

Condition
The rear wall framing survives but many windows are missing and few glazing panels survive.
This frame sits on brick wall. Internally, blast shield survives as do mantlet bar and storage
lockers. The tiled floor surface noted in previous survey is also still present. Tackle and pulley
loops in ceiling

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Survives as a good example of original casemate and therefore retains a high level of
significance. One of three casemates constructed to their full width as they are not built on the
curve. Mantlet bar and blast shileds are present and therefore retains a high level of
significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 09 34.09

No image available

Description
Original woodwork survives rear. The floor is cement; no racer rings are evident. There is a
store recess on the north side. Arches between the casemates blocked. There is a concrete
tank towards the rear. It still retains the tackle loop in the ceiling and also a pulley ring
behind. Outside there is an original pump, minus handle.

Condition
Internally concrete floor, blast shield present with mantlet bar. Arch between casemates
blocked up with concrete blocks with door opening. Rear wall framing mostly gone but section
around door opening survives with a few glazed panels. Pump outside rear wall still exists as
does brick sill wall.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Last in a consecutive row of southern casemates to retain their blast shields and is built to full
width with wider arch to rear. Thus retains a high level of significance. Blast shield present with
mantlet bar

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 10 34.10

No image available

Description
The iron shield has been removed and replaced with a central doorway and adjacent
window. Concrete floor but storage lockers between embrasures. Pulley and tackle loops in
ceiling. Rear wall mostly covered in weatherboarding but sill wall present.

Condition
Down pipe from roof probably blocked and water is soaking rear wall face. Rear yard area
overgrown.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Has open arches through to casemate 11 which retains the original interconnection between
the original gun positions. It has lost its blast shield and due to loss of original fabric retains
only a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 11 34.11

No image available

Description
Blast shield removed and embrasure opening bricked up similar to 34.10. Concrete floor is a
continuation of the floor in 34.10. Original rear wall framing probably survives under modern
weatherboarding to an unknown extent. The brick sill wall only survives to the north side.

Condition
Water from blocked down pipe soaking wall face, if this freezes it may start to damage the
brick arches, no spalling noted yet.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Together with casemate 10 forms an open space. Loss of original features such as blast
shields means it retains moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 12 34.12

No image available

Description
Empty with cement floor and shield has been removed and replaced with brick walling. Iron
rail inside of wall at roof level appears to be a later insertion, sitting on iron hooks in the side
wall. Side arches blocked; original timber framing survives in S. arch. Has small pulley loops
in the ceiling but no tackle loop.

Condition
Brick vaulting in good condition but connecting arches bricked up. The secondary iron rails
set into the brickwork of the blocked arches at head height are still present. Rear wooden wall
framing appears to survive well under partial boarding complete with brick sill walls. Lower
windows missing and so is door. Water from blocked down pipe starting to soak masonry wall
face.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Retains only a moderately high level of significance due to loss of features and fabric

Drake's Island Building Survey


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Component Data Sheet

casemate 13 34.13

No image available

Description
Side arches are blocked and the shield has been removed and replaced by a brick wall and an
opening with a concrete lintel; may have been the magazine (with serving hatch) for the World
War II gun emplacement to the front. On the southern wall there are two iron possible lamp
brackets. In the ceiling above there is a large iron tackle loop above the 1860's gun position
and a smaller one directly in front, in line with the embrasure; there is also a small pully on the
same line towards the rear. However, this seems too small to hold a rope to manoeuvre the
gun. It may be a bell-pull.

Condition
Blast shield removed and replaced with brick wall with low opening. Concrete floor with part
rendered internal walls. Probable magazine for gun emplacement outside. Brick vaulting
unchanged but side arches blocked with brick walls. Rear wall original wooden frame
completely removed and replaced with solid brick wall with steel door frame. Door missing.
Water is soaking masonry from blocked down pipe.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Much of the original appearance of this casemate has been lost due to its conversion into the
magazine serving the twin WWII gun battery outside. The floor and rendered walls plus the
removal of the rear wall have reduced the original significance of this feature but when taken
as part of a group value together with the other featuers related to the twin gun emplacement
it retains a high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 14 34.14

No image available

Description
As No 16. except that the shield has been replaced with a brick and concrete wall with a
central doorway and windows, presumably giving access to the World War II gun
emplacement (No.30)

Condition
Most of blast shield has been replaced with doorway. Storage locker still exists to south side of
embrasure. Brick vaulting in good condition. Floor probaly concrete under rotting carpet. Rear
wall framing removed leaving only sill walls. Trees are growing in front of entrance.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Has group significance with 15-17 through having been part of a group of four casemates
converted to house 6pdr guns by 1901. However, all fixtures relating to this later gun
placement have been removed, and although it has suffered the loss of original fabric and
secondary gun emplacement shield it still forms part of a significant group. Therefore this
feature retains a moderate high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 15 34.15

No image available

Description
Embrasure and shield as 34.16 & 34.17. Label above the embrasure appears to read ___pdr
QF No.2 Retains its original steps and ramp up to the rear; as do 34.01-34.14. Consists of
flagstones on a brick support. Site of 6 pdr QF in 1900.

Condition
Gun embrasure altered from original to take 6pdr QF in 1900. This later emplacement survives
well with iron framing and small embrasure still present. What is likely to be the iron gun pivot
is still anchored into the concrete floor. Although the interior has been painted over in modern
times the painted sign above the embrasure 'QF No 2' is still exposed. The rear wooden wall
framing is missing but the brick sill walls survive. The yard to the rear becoming overgrown.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


One of 6pdr QF gun emplacements of 1900 and as such the original blast shield has been
replaced. Pivot for later gun survives and as such this feature represents a good example of
the later adaptation of the casements and so retains a high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 16 34.16

No image available

Description
The interior is carpeted with a store recess to the right of the embrasure. Embrasure and
shield as 34. 17. The windows at the rear have been boarded; the brick walls still survive. It is
accesible from 34.15. site of 6pdr QF in 1900.

Condition
Similar to 15. Painted white internally with well preserved QF gun embrasure including
possible pivot replacing earlier. Concrete floor and storage locker to south side. Rear wall
framing survives but many of the panes broken. Sill walls also survive but surrounding wall
faces and framing becoming water dameged. Brick arches starting to spall perhaps due to
being constantly wet and subject to frost.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Similar to casemate 15 and 17 in that it has been altered into a 6pdr gun emplacement by
1900. Original blast shield replaced with later one. Its heritage value has been reduced by loss
of original fabric but when taken into account for group value with the other 6 pdr
emplacements it retains a high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 17 34.17

No image available

Description
Retains its iron shield, consisting of horizontal iron beams with a small rectangular embrasure,
and a projection under it on the inside, possibly to pivot the gun. In the centre of the floor is a
raised concrete platform with tiles around, and a loop in the ceiling above the gun. Rear wall
and wooden frames original. Side arches blocked. To the right of the embrasure is a small
store recess with ?original wooden doors and framing. Site of one of four 6pr QF guns to be
mounted behind new shields by order dated 1900 on 1895 plan, of which only three shields
remain.

Condition
Similar to 34.15 & 34.16. Qf gun embrasure well preserved replacing earlier. Concrete floor;
was used as workshop most recently.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Most recently used as a workshop. Original blast shield replaced when this emplacement like
15 and 16 turned into 6 pdr by 1900. The heritage value has been reduced by loss of original
fabric but when assessed by group value with the other 1900 6pdr emplacements it retains a
high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 18 34.18

No image available

Description
Front is shuttered concrete with a window with brick sides and iron shutters on the inside as
No. 21. At the rear there are the original window-frames on a dwarf wall with limestone coping
stones. The floor has been raised and tiled. Used as a furniture store

Condition
The iron shield identified in earlier survey still extant All survives as survey with some rear wall
framing

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Original blast shield removed and replaced with lightweight metal shutters. The loss of
original fabric reduces the heritage significance, however the presence of this later metal
shutter feature may relate to later conflict such as WWII so it retains a moderate high level of
significance in that context

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 19 34.19

No image available

Description
This has shuttered concrete with a wide rectangular opening, with earlier iron hinges for
shutters? Of some kind high up on the side walls on the outside. Outside Nos 19 and 20 are
granite blocks containing grooves for traversing rails.

Inside the grooves for racer rails in the limestone setts still survive. They are broader then
those rings surviving in the blocks outside, suggesting that the latter are for earlier guns. The
floor to the rear is brick but most is cement. The side arches are blocked with brick. There is
no shuttering at the rear of the front opening. It is now used as a timber store by the City
Engineers Dept.

Condition
Fabric in reasonable condition but appears never to have been armed.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


One of three casemates never to have been fitted with a blast shield. Seaward embrasure
now infilled with wall and wide window. Some evidence of racer rails remain in floor surface
which may mean that the racer rings are still extant under the modern concrete. Due to loss of
original fabric however this feature retains only a moderate high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 20 34.20

No image available

Description
Entrances into the neighbouring casemates have been blocked up with brick and board. Floor
cemented over and possibly used as a base for machinery of some kind or recently for wash-
basins. Shuttered concrete blocking, with window embrasure; no evidence of sliding irons
shutters survives. Each casemate has vents and a loop in the ceiling. It is at present used as
a store for boarding, therefore other tackle loops etc are not visible. At rear the windows have
been rebuilt and narrowed down in brick; the vertical mullions have been removed.

Condition
As per earlier survey. The window openings in the embrasure are not blocked and the outside
is becoming overgrown. Concrete floor with tank bases still survive as do iron rails set in the
walls.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Documentary evidence (Pye and Woodward 1996, Defences of Plymouth) suggets that the
northern two casemates (20, 21) were never armed. The present interior of this casemate has
been significantly altered and therefore due to loss of original fabric it retains only a moderate
high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

casemate 21 34.21

No image available

Description
This has a shuttered concrete blocking across the front containing a small opening, which on
the inside retains iron sliding shutters; has a tiled floor, in which there is a cement patch
directly behind the opening, perhaps for a gun or searchlight mounting. The iron shuttering
indicates defence against aircraft or small machine-gun fire from ships, and may date to the
last war or earlier; it may have housed a searchlight associated with the 6pdr QF guns
installed in the 1890's or the WWII mine control tower [53]

No traversing rails visible except one tackle loop. The rear wall is brick and retains its original
timber door and window framing. Used in 1895 as an artillery store with [34.20].

Condition
Features described during earlier survey still survive. Iron shutters etc. Vaulting in good
condition with no signs of major water ingress.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Documentary evidence (Pye and Woodward 1996, Defences of Plymouth) suggets that the
northern three casemates [34.19-34.21] were never armed, and therefore never had blast
shields. This casemate contains the only example of iron shutters in its embrasure suggesting
that it housed a searchlight associated either with the late 19th century QF guns or the WWII
mine control. The sliding iron shutters are unique within the Battery and therefore provide
evidence of a further phase of fitting out associated with later styles of defence. It is therefore
considered to have a moderately high level of significance and potential group value in this
later context

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Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Covered Way 35

No image available

Description
Gives access from the main part of the island to the rear of the casemated battery; section to
north of main magazine is covered over, and a traverse (No. 31) protects the open section
between this and the casemates. It has tackle loops on the side walls at the E. entrance of
the tunnel, and at each end of the casemates, presumably to help manoeuvre the guns. The
south wall of the open section has been adapted to form a "rock face" for training, either by
the Royal Engineers in the 1950's or 60's, or by the Adventure Centre.

Condition
The entrance into the covered way is becoming overgrown and hidden by hanging ivy. The
tunnel itself is sound with no breaks in masonry or water ingress. The large trees on top of this
feature may be having a damaging effect but this could not be seen. The walls at the east end
of the tunnel were used as a climbing wall for the former adventure centre and have several
hand and foot grips and standing platforms set in the wall face

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This feature remains one of the most striking elements of the 19th century battery on the
island. It provided protected access to the rear of the lower battery and also access from the
north into the main magazine. Its strong walls of stone and vaulted brick ceiling are symbolic
of the style and materials used at this time. The covered way still provides the visitor with an
evocative experience on entry, with the choice of entering either the magazine or the rear of
the casemates. Therefore this feature retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Main Barrack Block 36

No image available

Description
Pye' survey of 1996 described the building as: This is of double pile construction, with at
ground floor pairs of timber floored rooms separated by flagstone paved access passages in
from the north; stairs lead up to the first floor. Most retain their original fireplace surrounds,
with shelving to each side (now gone). The floors are generally rotten. Higher class rooms on
both floors at western end represent the officers quarters and still retain much of its original
timberwork including picture rails, sash window-frames and panelling, and fireplaces with VR
monograms. In most cases the wooden door frames still survive. Ground floor room at west
end has been much altered, with the addition of a partition still retains its timber panelling
around the windows, together with a couple of the shutters and also its original fireplace, again
with the 'VR' crest. The room to the south of this has been converted into a kitchen. There is
also another room immediately to the west which did not have a fireplace and has been used
latterly as a scullery.

Upstairs Level. This was reached by stairways at the southen end of each passage. The
most easterly stairway still seems to retain its original banisters. The east room has been
converted into toilets and showers. Most of the original doorframes and skirting boards still
survive intact, although the doors themselves are generally modern. The main rooms face
north. The easternmost one still retains its original fireplace, picture rail and window furniture
although without panelling. The room to the right of the stairwell still retains its fireplace with
grate. There were probably equivalent rooms to the south but these have generallly been
partitioned off; some retain their fireplaces. Those flanking the second stairway do not retain
thie fireplaces except for one on the eastern side and to the south. There are some fireplaces
beyond this but they seem to be rather smaller and more rudimentary, representing the
soldiers quarters. They are also not so well provided with windows, and the banisters are not
nearly so ornate either. The officers quarters also have much higher quality and more ornate
door frames. They also have garret rooms above, presumably for their individual batmen.
These have less ornate fireplaces, more akin to the men's quarters at the other end. They
consist of one large north-facing room with smaller rooms and cupboard's behind. Around the
rear of the barracks and high up contains limestone corbels for roof joists. These may belong
to the pantry which has since been demolished. In the rear wall fo the pantry are truncated
slates which may have been some kind of shelving. At the rear of the barrack block at first
floor level there is a secondary doorway.
Condition: floors often rotten, due to leaky roof; much of original timberwork survives and
should be retained together with the fireplaces. Roof replaced 10-15 years ago, but badly
done and needs replacing or repairing. Groundwork not working on it at time of visit.
This building is listed Grade II
Listing description:

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Main Barrack Block 36


PLYMOUTH

SX45SE DRAKE'S ISLAND 740-1/7/236 Barracks 19/12/90

GV II

Military barracks for island garrison. c1830-35, or possibly of C18 origin, remodelled c1860.
Rendered stone with exposed granite quoins, parapet coping, gable coping and sills; slate 2-
span roof; Plymouth limestone ashlar axial and lateral stacks. Double-depth-plan range for
sergeants' and privates' accommodation and cross wing on right for officers' accommodation.
EXTERIOR: 2 storeys and 2 storeys plus attic; 9:5 bays, the 5-bay cross wing with 2 attic
windows. C19 12-pane sashes; 3 doorways with planked doors to main range and central
doorway to cross wing with panelled door, all with rectangular overlights with glazing bars.
Rear elevation is similar but a mirror image of the front, plus on the left are concrete steps up
to an inserted 1st-floor doorway. INTERIOR: the officers' block contains c1830s dog-leg
staircase with column newels and elliptical work alcove in one room. The cast-iron
chimneypieces, especially those with laurel wreath and VR monogram are probably c1860 or
later replacements. HISTORY: the barrack return of 1822 gives the strength of Drake's Island
detachment as 2 officers and 72 men. A company of the 32nd Foot (Duke of Cornwall's Light
Infantry) was stationed on the island in 1825 for which there was accommodation for 3 officers
and 96 men. A later return in 1847 says there were 22 rooms for sleeping, a cookhouse, 8
privates to a room and the sergeants had a room each. The barracks were probably therefore
rebuilt between 1822 and 1847. (Mayflower Centre Trust: Drake's Island).

Condition
This two storey building will be the subject of a detailed survey carried out by others but
externally the building is rendered and the roof appears to be largely weather proof. All
windows and doors are boarded up

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Only a handful of buildings still remain on the island and although much altered this structure,
dating probably to the 1830's, represents the largest. Visible from the northern approaches its
grey rendered exterior still retains an austere military aspect. This, together with the other
buildings on this part of the island, provides both an individual value and an important group
value. It therefore retains a moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


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Component Data Sheet

Gun emplacement 37

No image available

Description
This is located at the western end of the double fire-step wall [11] and is cut into and post-
dates granite paving in front of the officers' quarters and therefore presumably post-dates the
1830s when the latter were built. It is for gun mounted on a traversing carriage en barbette as
there is a slightly lower area of bank in front and no embrasure. The outer racer ring is visible
although the iron rail has gone. Part of the granite sett for the inner rail is also partly visible
underneath later steps. There is a store recess in the wall to the south.

Condition
Not much was visible of this feature as the ground was overgrown. But it was possible to see
the remains of the granite racer ring. The wall or embankment to the west is also becoming
overgrown.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This gun emplacement represents part of the fortification of the island in the mid 19th century.
From its position it would appear to cover the north-west side of the island. Partly over built by
other features it retains some of its original features such as racer rings and low front
earthwork (en barbette). Therefore, despite the later disturbances, this feature remains as one
of the only surviving gun positions from this period, in this part of the island, and so, retains a
moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


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Component Data Sheet

Loop-holed wall 38

No image available

Description
This is located on top of the coastal wall and tower [3] at the eastern end of the barrack block
[36] Access to it is via secondary steps at the rear. Constructed of mainly limestone rubble
build, containing sloping loop-holes at the corners and along the wall faces. It follows line of
and therefore postdates a projecting tower below which latterly held the officers' WC. It is
topped by a decorative course of triangular limestone. It has been thought to be 18th-century
in date due to the form of the loop-holes. However, it needs to be studied in relation to the
coastal walling and tower which underlie it; the former is of several phases of build, and the
tower underneath contains brick barrel-vaulted chambers (the WC's) which appear to be ?19th
century in date. They may be contemporary with the 1830s barrack block.

Condition
Section of walling has become overgrown with ivy and scrub trees are starting to take hold.
The wall itself seem sound but, due to the nature of the build it could be weakened.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Possibly contemporary with the barrack block this feature requires, together with the
associated tower and coastal wall below, a more detailed study to better understand its
development as part of the coastal defences on this part of the island. It therefore retains a
moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

WWII gun emplacement 39

No image available

Description
This is for a twin 6pdr QF gun and is built within the western emplacement of the 1898
Western 12-pdr QF battery. Part of the concrete apron of the latter can still be seen at the
western extremity of the WWII position. The gun emplacement survives intact with mounting,
apron and wall at breech level around rear containing storage recesses, there are brick ?blast
walls to either side of the circular gun mounting behind. There also appears to have been a
fire direction/observation tower on the roof of the magazine. There are the remains of a brick
blast protection wall along the front of the building at the rear. This is brick built, cement
rendered, and concrete roofed; approached via a ramp at the rear. Contains a serving hatch
at the rear of the gun, and probably represents the magazine. Now empty, suffering a little
from damp. Not shown on 1951 plan.

Condition
Well preserved twin 6pdr QF gun emplacement including magazine to rear. The mounting is
present as are the brick blast walls, bitumen covered apron, rear wall and traversing rails. Part
of the traverse structure is spalling and vegetation is taking hold. The magazine to the rear is
beginning to deteriorate but is basically sound, the windows and door are not boarded up

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This feature represents part of the WWII defences and its location is set to the west of the
island. This position is away from the traditional gun positions and therefore lacked a pre-
existing magazine which it could exploit. The WWII gun position outside casemate 13 was
able to exploit the casemate behind it as a magazine and the other guns on the upper
batteries were able to adapt existing magazines. A purpose built reinforced magazine was
therefore necessary and is located behind the gun pit. As a group they retain a moderately
high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


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Component Data Sheet

Central Gun Emplacement 40

No image available

Description
This is partly overlain by the buildings at the rear of the WWII gun. Access to loading platform
via steps from north. It retains its mounting plate in situ although much eroded, presumably
because of the salt air. Not as well preserved at the equivalent ones at Western King. There
is no rail around the rear. Ground level to the rear has been raised, blocking the store
recesses at the rear of the platform. To the north there is a store recess and electrics
cupboard {with a fighting-light bracket above} in the rear of the parapet.

Condition
Concrete base survives well although some damage to the exposed edges, it is not covered in
bitumen. Railing bases ara present but no railings. The centre mounting is present but rusting.
The front apron wall survives well and is still mostly covered in bitumen.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As part of the western QF battery built in 1898 it has been partly over built by the later WWII
gun emplacement and magazine. Although part of a significant re-fortification of the late 19th
century as a three gun battery it has suffered from a loss of fabric and therefore retains only a
moderately low level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Eastern gun emplacement 41

No image available

Description
This is covered with bitumen including the mounting plate, the bolts of which are still visible.
There are brackets for fighting lights to the right and left of the emplacement. The store
recesses are visible in the rear of the loading platform. In reasonable condition although the
concrete apron at the fron is exposed to erosion.

Condition
As per earlier survey. Still mostly covered with bitumen including the apron and mounting
plate. Store recesses are visible but have no doors. All exposed to erosion from the weather.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As part of the western QF battery built in 1898. Although part of a significant re-fortification of
the late 19th century as a three gun battery it has suffered from a loss of fabric and therefore
retains a moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

19th century Parapet wall 42

No image available

Description
Located between gun postion [43] and the eastern emplacement of Western QF battery;
represents masonry parapet wall of Lower Battery, and contains two store recesses, each with
lower section at the front. At its E. end it has been truncated by a later Nissen hut, and turns
into side wall of gun position [43]; at the west it turns south, almost certainly into another 19th
cent. Gun position subsequently occupied by the QF gun. Also retains Lewis gun
emplacement [44] to the south. Has limestone quoins.

Condition
Walling still visible as are the recesses. But all becoming overgrown

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As part of the lower battery parapet wall it remains as an important fragment of this feature.
However it is becoming overgrown and has suffered some loss of fabric and so only retains a
moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

19th cent. Gun position 43

No image available

Description
Labelled in 1898 as an 80pdr emplacement. Has splayed side masonry walls, with
presumably the gun mounted en barbette and firing over the lower parapet wall at the front.
Rear racer ring set in granite is faintly visible as is one of the tackle loops in each side wall.

Condition
Feature is still discernable with two splayed side masonry walls which have become
overgrown. Where, earlier, the rear racing ring was visible this is no longer the case as there
has been significant growth of ground vegetation in this area. Where visible the masonry walls
appear sound with no obvious sign of displacement.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This feature, although becoming overgrown and in a state of decline, represents a 19th
century fortification. The gun was traversed on racer rings and fired over a low parapet wall
(en barbatte).
One of a few surviving examples of this type of gun emplacement it retains a moderate level
of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Lewis gun platform 44

No image available

Description
Located to west of [43] and revetted by [42]. Marked on 1951 plan as site for Lewis gun;
retaining wall around the front no longer visible, although there is a slight platform towards its
western end which may be the site of the gun.

Condition
This feature could not be found probably due to the amount of vegetation growing up in this
area.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Although marked on a plan or 1951 this feature represents a lighter form of defensive
armament alongside the heavy guns and as such deserves mention for this type of feature.
But as it appears to have suffered a loss of fabric it therefore retains a moderately low level of
significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Concrete Tank 45

No image available

Description
Described as a tank of presumably WWII vintage. It still has a low concrete parapet wall
facing to the sea. No signs of access and inspection of rear of concrete plinth may suggest a
shallow concrete platform rather than tank. Needs further investigation

Condition
This is partly overgrown and the concrete is spalling in places. The upper surface is beginning
to break up and is partly covered in plants.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Of unknown purpose this feature may represent a platform of WWII vintage but the lack of
identifiable features means that it retains only a low level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Wall 46

No image available

Description
This is a stretch of rubble limestone wall located on the slope immediately above the cliff
below Tank No. 45 and on line of walls shown on 19th cent maps; possibly revealed by recent
cliff erosion. It now forms the rear of a small terrace immediately above the sea wall although
it may of course be an earlier retaining wall.

Condition
This feature could not be clearly identified due to vegetation growth

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Possibly representing a section of 18th century coastal wall it forms part fo a wider group of
such features. It has, however, suffered from loss of fabric and therefore retains only a
moderately low level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Lewis gun platform 47

No image available

Description
Visible as a small level terrace immediately to the east of the tank [45].

Condition
This feature could not be found as the area in which it is located has become overgrown with
brambles.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Although marked on a plan of 1951 this feature represents a lighter form of defensive
armament alongside the heavy guns and as such deserves mention for this type of feature.
But as it appears to have suffered a loss of fabric it therefore retains a moderatly low level of
significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Western gun emplacement 48

No image available

Description
Gun pit now occupied by a concrete mast base and mast above. The top of the shell-lift on
the gun platform is covered by a drain cover. Not liftable. The cartridge lift is blocked up.
Original iron railing survives around the rear of the loading platform and along the rear of the
terreplein {in effect the roof of the magazine below} there is the base of a davit at the west end
of the wall. There are brackets for fighting-lights above the cartridge lift to the east and in the
parapet wall to the west, and store recesses in the parapet wall to each side and in the rear of
the loading platform.
Gun dismounted by 1930, and in WWII AA gun possibly occupied the position.

Condition
Mast still extant and guide cables still present. Railings are still there and so are other fixtures
noted on earlier survey. Vegetation starting to take a hold but generally in good condition.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Previously a well preserved gun emplacement and part of the 1901 6" QF battery it has had a
concrete mast base and steps added to it. Occupying the centre of the island and facing south
it remains as part of one of the most dominant features. When taken as part of a wider group
of defensive features of this period including the searchlight positions down on the shore line
the group forms a well preserved example of this type of fortification. Although it has suffered
from loss of original fabric it remains an important part of the island's defences and therefore
retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Magazine and Shelter 49

No image available

Description
These directly underlie gun position [48]. Shelter has been knocked through into cartridge
store, so it now consists of two rooms separated by a passage {the shifting lobby}. The
shelter was the westernmost room and had two doorways (west one blocked) separated by a
window. Roof brick jack-vaulted, as is that of the cartridge store (the central room). This is
entered from the shifting lobby; a window has been cut into its S. wall.

At the southern end of the shifting lobby is the site of a cartridge lift, lit by a lamp window in
the r/h wall. There is a slight recess on the right at the bottom of the cartridge lift, possibly for
a winding handle.

The easternmost room was the shell store and is entered from the shifting lobby through a
doorway adjoining the cartridge lift. It has a lamp-window in its south wall and a blocked shell-
lift in its west wall. A new doorway has very recently been knocked through its north-western
corner. It is lit by an original window.

Condition
Externally building appears sound but some windows are missing and doorways left
unblocked. Some minor spalling to external render and ivy growth is encroaching. Steps are
clear. Iron railings along top are still extant. Internally, the building is fairly dry and the roof
sound. Iron joists beginning to rust

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As part of the 6-inch gun battery it formed an important role in the functioning of this defensive
system. Located as it is, under one of the principal gun positions, it is part of a wider group of
features and therefore retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Central 6" gun emplacement 50

No image available

Description
Gun pit occupied by a disused mast base covering in the mounting. The top of the shell-lift,
which is located at the western end of the loading platform, still survives intact together with its
lid. Fighting-lights still survive to the right of the emplacement. The guard railing does not
survive to the rear though. The top of the cartridge-lift is located in the rear of the parapet wall
to the east and to the ear of the emplacement. This is labelled 'Cartridge lift No 2' although
the labelling is very recent. There is a fighting-light above and the shoe for the cartridge and
the pulley still survives intact although the timber lining appears recent. At the rear is a
contemporary stair down to the earlier RML magazines underneath. This has a socket for a
davit but the davit does not survive.

The wall linking the central and eastern emplacmeents is limestone with a granite coping
course. It belongs to the 1860s Upper RML battery, except the central section which
represents a 1901 Shelter built within an earlier RML gun emplacement. The expense
magazines to each side of the shelter have been used in 1901 as a paint and oil store and as
a lamp store. These are bolted up and inaccessible except for the western chamber; this is a
brick barrel-vaulted chamber with a rectangular lamp shaft in the floor at the rear to the
magazine below.

Condition
Generally in good condition with vegetation starting to take hold of area within gun pit. Mast
base still extant. Surround walls including apron , which is still covered in bitumen all in good
condition with only minor spalling. Walling above shell lockers is worse. Cartridge lift still has
the remains of chain and wooden framing although badly rusted.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Part of a well preserved group of defensive structures. This feature is well preserved and
when taken into account with the other contemporary features it retains a moderately high
level of significance. Each of the various gun positions on the island requires access to an
ammunition magazine, this particular gun emplacement has been positioned to exploit the
earlier RML magazines below.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Eastern gun emplacement. 50a

No image available

Description
At the rear of this is a stair down to the earlier RML magazines with the davit still in situ. The
gun emplacment itself is occupied by a mast, and the gun pit filled in. It is sited within an
earlier RML emplacement. The top of the cartridge lift (located to the right of the gun platform
towards the rear) still survives, together with its original door. The railings around the rear of
the platform have gone and the top of the shell-lift is covered by it's original lid; the pulley
survives although the wooden shoe does not.

Immediately to the east is another expense magazine, which has subsequently been reroofed
with concrete and bitumen. At the time the 6" guns were installed. This has a lamp shaft at
the rear and is now used as a cement store.

Condition
Gun pit covered by a square mast base which has completely covered the original pit. The
mast superstructure has gone with only evidence of fixing left in the upper surface of the
concrete base.As earlier survey stated, most features including davit over stairs to magazine,
cartridge lift with door all survive. General condition good although front apron covered with
brambles.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As an individual feature this gun emplacement has been been affected by the installation of
the large concrete mast base set in the centre. This detracts form its heritage value, but, when
taken as part of the wider group of features associated with the central gun battery its
significance is raised to a moderately high level. It too has been placed to exploit the
underground RML magazines.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Eastern 12-pdr QF Battery 1901 51

No image available

Description
This consists of 3 gun emplacements (Nos 51a-c), and a shelter to the west (No 52); all
completed in 1901. A stairway at the rear of the shelter leads down to the RML expense
magazines below which were utilised as the QF battery magazines.

Condition
Reasonably well preserved, they retain many of the features identified during earlier survey.
The front apron area is becoming covered with bramble but there are areas of apron which
can be seen and are still covered with bitumen. Some of the lockers retain their doors which
appear to be fewer in number than the original survey suggests. May have been removed for
scrap recently.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Part of a late 19th century re-fortification of the island this group of gun emplacements
occupies the upper east area. As part of this extensive set of defensive emplacements it forms
an important component and therefore retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Gun emplacement 51-a

No image available

Description
Part of eastern QF battery 1901. It retains its iron mounting plate together with the stubs of
bolts, although the eastern two have been partly covered with bitumen. There are store
recesses to the rear of each, most of which retain their original iron doors.

Condition
The rear flanking walls to this gun emplacement have lockers with their doors missing.
Becoming overgrown. Railings exist where the access leads down to shelter 52

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Suffering from a gradual erosion of features and becoming overgrown this feature, taken on
an individual basis, has a reduced heritage value but once taken into account as part of the
late 19th c entury group of gun emplacements its value increases to a moderately high level of
significance. Positioned as it is, to exploit the underground RML magazines, it reflects the
continous link with the earlier defensive systems.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Gun emplacement 51-b

No image available

Description
Part of eastern QF battery 1901. It retains its iron mounting plate together with the stubs of
bolts. There are store recesses to the rear some of which retain their original iron doors.

Condition
Becoming very overgrown with ivy and brambles. Gun platform mostly covered with bitumen.
At least one set of double metal doors still extant

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


When taken on an individual basis, has a reduced heritage value due to area erosion and loss
of original fabric, but, once taken into account as part of the late 19th century group of gun
emplacements, its value increases to a moderately high level of significance. Positioned as it
is, to exploit the underground RML magazines, it reflects the continous link with the earlier
defensive systems.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Gun emplacement 51-c

No image available

Description
Part of eastern QF battery 1901. Very overgrown. Unable to discern features or state of
preservation due to bramble and ivy.

Condition
Will need clearance of ivy and bramble coverage to properly assess the condition of this
feature. Only minor areas of concrete apron wall visible at the time of the survey.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


When taken on an individual basis, has a reduced heritage value but, once taken into account
as part of the late 19th c entury group of gun emplacements, its value increases to a
moderately high level of significance. Positioned as it is, to exploit the underground RML
magazines, it reflects the continous link with the earlier defensive systems.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Shelter 52

No image available

Description
Only now reachable by rusting iron ladder; access not gained. No evidence of stairway. Part
covered windowed room, appeared to be empty and derelict from the outside.

Condition
This below ground feature was not entered as rusty iron access ladder close to collapse. But
from the surface the main faade appears sound but most of the windows are missing. Interior
not seen.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Built as an integral component of the eastern battery this shelter served the eastern guns. It
derives enhanced significance through being part of the complex of features associated with
this period of re-armament of the island, and therefore is considered also to be of a
moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

WWII Mine control/observation tower 53

No image available

Description
Located at N.E. end of island above 1860s casemated battery. Still survives intact. On two
floors with viewing slits facing the north-east. The entrance may have been originally from the
south, either via a hatch or a stairwell not now accessible. Built of shuttered concrete,
contemporary with No 25.

Condition
Concrete tower looks to be in good condition with no obvious signs of spalling or subsidence.
The outerface is becoming covered in ivy and the slit windows are open to the weather. No
access to interior possible but it was viewed from window. Originally two levels but probable
iron stairs and or framing long removed. Internally dry and very sound.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


The approaches to Plymouth Sound were covered by mine fields during WWII. Constructed
from in-situ cast concrete, this observation tower provided control over the access through the
minefields monitoring ships as they entered and left Plymouth Sound. If, in the event of
invasion or incursion the mine control towers could detonate mines remotely. One of a pair of
similar features from this period. Representing, as it does, a limited group of WWII
fortifications, which relate to the last significant development on the island, the feature retains
a moderately high level of significance. Positioned above and behind the casemates it does
not impose on their faade but sits back into the hill slope behind and above the casemates.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Pre 1860s loop-holed wall 54

No image available

Description
Located to north of main 1860s magazine, which it predates; overlooks north shore and
approach to main gate. Runs eastwards from tower/crane base No. 15. Contains musketry
loops sloping down to cover the foreshore around the landing bay. Built of limestone rubble
and follows a zigzag course; to the rear there is a terrace, with the N. wall of the 1860's
traverse protecting the covered way forming its S. limit. Truncates the earlier loopholed wall at
the latter's east end. Its condition is reasonable and it has been repaired in places and has
lights installed on the parapet. The parapet has a decorative stone coping which may be
secondary.

Condition
Very overgrown approach path. Steps and footpath leading from crane platform covered in
undergrowth. Platform to rear of loop hole wall passable. Some capping stones missing from
top of wall and trees are very close to undermining this section of walling. Much is hidden
under ivy. Lights etc mentioned on earlier survey no longer present.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Possibly part of 18th century coastal defence it overlooks the northern approaches to the
island and therefore would fall into the surviving group of significant remains on the island
dating to this period. It has suffered from some fabric loss but, through its association with
other 18th century features, retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Infantry firing step/parapet wall 55

No image available

Description
Runs along the north side of the 1860s covered way to the west of the tunnel entrance; may
predate 1860s work as the section of wall is shown on earlier plans. Parapet wall is not loop-
holed; the eastern section is heavily overgrown.

Condition
Wall and step very overgrown with mature tree cover, the roots of which are probably
damaging the structure of the wall.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Despite being overgrown and possibly damaged as a result of this tree encroachment this
feature survives as a good example of its type, and, together with its association with the other
18th century features, provides a period style of defensive feature that retains a moderately
high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Jetty 56

No image available

Description
Described as WWII jetty. Constructed from rigid sectional ferro concrete beams and cross
bracing, it projects out into the water approxmately 93m. Terminates in a 'T' shaped landing
platform with sloping iron steps which are constructed in a manner to allow for the rising and
falling of the tide. The 1.5inch gas barrel tubing hand rail is thought to be a later feature. A
possibly contemporary davit stands on the landing platform. Concrete piles are set into the
sea bed for an unknown depth.

Condition
Superstructure in fair condition but due to the sea water corrosion the iron access steps are no
longer functioning and have become dangerous. Access on the platform is via a new vertical
ladder. The original handrail has been replaced with a new gas barrel type. The davit although
present is rusting and no longer works.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As part of the main access from the north during WWII this feature dominates the north side
of the island and has become the only access to the island. Although of some historical
significance as part of a limited group of WWII features, the style of construction and
condition means that it is of only moderate significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Boat house 57

No image available

Description
Late 20th century timber frame boat house. Has triangular profile and is built on site of slipway
shown on earlier plans. Now empty and disused

Condition
In gradual decline the framing itself is sound but north foundation wall has been washed out
by the sea and is in danger of further collapse. Old pieces of iron machinery including winch
gears and superstructure, itself appearing to be quite old, have been used to infill under the
floor of the boat house. This is all becoming exposed as the buildings underfloor collapses.
The earlier slipway is also becoming visible as the rubble infill falls away. Area very dangerous
to access

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This is the largest post WWII feature on the island, but it has become undermined and
structurally vunerable. It has been built over an earlier slipway which is partially exposed
under the building as its foundations are eroded by the sea. Although it is of some interest as
it represents the modern use of the island, and is of an unusual and striking design, it is of
little intrinsic historical interest and is therefore only of moderate to low signifcance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

old jetty 58

No image available

Description
shown on plan of Drakes Island dated 1911 as' landing place' probably dates to earlier and
was replaced by the extant WWII jetty

Condition
Most of this feature has 'dissapeared' except for a small section of pathway directly under the
gateway sea wall. At low tide, a line of rocks may mark its postion but as these are covered in
seaweed it was difficult to identify. More of this feature may survive under the water line or
indeed under the seaweed.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Originally the north access to the island it once formed an important feature but due to the
erosion and loss of fabric it has lost much of its heritage value, and retains only a moderately
low level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

well/shaft 59

No image available

Description
Of unknown date this feature is located close to and behind the location of the 19th century
upper battery. The top of this feature has been capped off with a circular stone with a small
opening left in the side. The profile of the shaft is square and lined with brick for an unknown
depth.

Condition
Inspection of the upper part of the shaft shows that it is sound at this level. The depth was not
established.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Undated feature possibly serving as a ventilation shaft and therefore part of the underground
magazine complex. If this association could be proven, it would be of a moderate level of
significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Sloping ramp 60

No image available

Description
Area includes the ramped access up to the level of the 19th century upper RML battery. The
large heavy guns were probably hauled up this ramp to their emplacements. Componant
number includes the lower stepped access between the ablution block and CO House.

Condition
Will need a more detailed survey to ascertain the nature of the underlying surface. This may
assist in determining any ramp surface in the future development and help establish the way in
which such large heavy guns were installed.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As part of the major re-fortification of the island in the mid 19th century much of our attention
is focussed on the gun batteries and associated magazines. But an undertsanding must be
developed in how this was achieved. Features such as the access ramps proved vital in
enabling the safe and manageable access of the guns. This association means that these
type of features retain a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Access track to covered way 61

No image available

Description
Fairly level trackway leading east to the entrance of the covered way. Probably constructed to
haul guns to lower casemated battery. Includes granite stairway leading up to sloping ramp for
upper battery

Condition
Would benefit from a more detailed study of the make-up of trackway surface.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As part of the wider fortifications in the mid 19th century this feature retains a moderately high
level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

RML gun 1860 62

No image available

Description
One of four 19th century RML guns rediscovered in 1963. This example re-mounted on a
purpose built carriage and fired in 1983.

Condition
Although it was mounted on a purpose built carriage it will need monitoring and consolidation
work at regular intervals.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As one of the four remaining examples of the actual armament of the island this, together with
the other three are an important reminder of what was actually housed in the casemates and
upper battery. It therefore retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

RML guns 1860 63

No image available

Description
Group of three RML guns re-discovered in 1963. Once installed in the upper battery they were
buried when decommissioned

Condition
The guns are resting on the ground and are open to the weather.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As evidence of the actual armament of the upper battery in 1860 this group of displaced guns
are an important piece of evidence and should be retained. They are therefore considered to
have a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Muzzle loading gun 64

No image available

Description
Possibly a 64 pounder. Uncertain of its origin but may have once been mounted on the island.
Possibly early 19th century in design. No distuinguishing marks could be found on-site.

Condition
Gun is laid directly on the ground and open to weather erosion

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


If this gun proves to be part of the early armament of the island it will be the only survivor from
this period and as such its heritage value is of moderately high significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Inferred position of Chapel and 16th century fort 65

No image available

Description
Available documentary evidence suggests that the 12th century chapel of St Michael was
located on the highest point of the island. At some point it was re-dedicated to St Nicholas. In
1549 an indenture was made between King Edward VI and the Mayor of Plymouth for the
upkeep of a fort on the island. The chapel was demolished and the first bulwark was
constructed on the highest point of the island.

Condition
As many later fortifications have been built on this site no remains from this period are visible
or have been identified.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


The significance of any surviving remains of either the chapel or the earliest fort would be,
arguably, amongst the most important historical remains on the island. As the likelihood of any
surviving remains being found has been greatly reduced by later building, this inferred area
retains a moderately low significance. The possibilty of buried remains is, however, possible.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Main magazine 1860's A

No image available

Description
An 1895 plan of these exists and has been reproduced in Fww's book. The main access and
lighting passages run parallel to the covered way through to the rear of the casemated battery.
The first passage on the right leads to the main access passage running around the rear of
the magazine chambers. The main lamp-lighters passage runs between the latter and the
covered way; branch passages, mostly blocked, separate the individual chambers and run
between them and the main access passage around their rear.

Condition
All very well well preserved. Some of the main chambers used for later social functions such
as disco with associated painted walls.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Part of the large scale fortication carried out on the island during the mid 19th century this
complex of well built brick chambers, tunnels and magazines remain one of the islands most
impressive features. Later, when the ground level gun emplacements were built, the
magazines proved so well built and protected they were kept in use. Although they are
possibly not unique, they remain a very important part of the heritage value of the island and
therefore retain a very high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Rear courtyard to casemates 1860 66

No image available

Description
Curved open yard between rear of casemates and expense magazines. Used for access to
casemates and or equipment including guns. Includes the small building at the very south end
of the casemates which was possible a lamp room.

Condition
Overgrown at time of survey but many features survive including steps or ramps to rear of
casemates. Brick rooms at south end are accessed vis iron staircase which is fairly sound but
overgrown. The small brick rooms are roofless and overgrown.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As an intergral part of the casemates and expense magazines this 'space' formed a vital
function. Its curving plan profile accentuates and reflects the curving architecture of the
casemates themselves.
This feature therefore retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Main magazine Room 1 A01

No image available

Description
A long rectangular brick barrel-vaulted chamber with masonry side walls; has stone offsets
projecting from the side walls at the bottom of the vaulting and a secondary lift or vent shaft
near the southern inserted doorway. The original doorway at the other end gives access to
the lamp-lighting passage and via this to a serving hatch opening into the western passage
(which contains electricity meters etc). Chamber empty, used as a shell store in 1895.

Condition
Room remains as described from earlier survey with little sign of decay. Wall paint peeling off
and generally untidy with old discarded iron scrap from elsewhere, some items may be
important remains from the islands military occupation!?

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As part of the impressive intact magazine complex this feature, contains shelf supports and is
largely intact. It therfore retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Main magazine Rooms 2-4 A02-04

No image available

Description
Three broad brick vaulted chambers, with interconnecting archways, original doors from the
main access passage and secondary ones from the lighting passage; beyond No. 2 this has
been blocked although it is accessible from the other side. There are no numbers on the
lintels of any of thse magazine chambers. These chambers were originally lit by lamp windows
in the north wall; the lamp passage to their rear/south served lamps lighting the main access
passage and hoists. There is a secondary iron loop, also present in No3. No. 4 retains its
lamp window in the northern wall. In 1895 Nos 2 & 4 were shell stores and No. 3 a cartridge
store. Nos 2 & 3 are empty except for iron and wooden fittings and finds from elsewhere on
the island and No. 4 was used as a disco.

Beyond No. 4 the main lamp passage narrows, beyond which there are entrances to a branch
lamp passage and to No 5.

Condition
Space is dry and masonry sound. Concrete floor some rubbish present but overall sound. The
main large brick vaulted chambers are all as described with the remains of the disco in four
as painted walls. Little has changed since previous survey

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Impressive chambers still retain their imposing nature. Although no indication of storage
racking or internal fixtures survive, this suite of spaces retain a high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Main magazine Room 5. A05

No image available

Description
A long rectangluar brick barrel-vaulted cartridge store (in 1895) with brick side walls and no
offsets, but with occasional iron shelf supports in the west wall. The lamp-window in the north
wall has been replaced by a secondary doorway and in the south wall there is a narrow
blocked opening which appears to be slightly too tall for a lamp-window. It appears to be an
insertion which has been subsequently blocked.

To the east of No.5 is a lamp-lighters passage serving lamps lighting the hoist to the upper
battery expense magazines. There is an equivalent arrangement at the western hoist. At the
east another passage lights the junction of the main access passage with those down to the
expense magazines. In the main access passage opposite No.3 there is an inserted shaft in
the ceiling and a lamp window in the south wall. The lamps at each end of the passage are
accommodated in iron "boxes" at ceiling level; similar to those at Fort Stamford

Condition
Room as described but some evidence of minor spalling to bricks in the form of brick dust at
base of walls. Probably as a result of damp penetrating from above.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As part of the impressive intact magazine complex this feature is an important component.
Slightly altered from its original design it still retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Main magazine Hoists A06

No image available

Description
These are late 1860's early 1870's in date and served the expense magazines of the upper
RML battery; they consist of an iron canister hauled up manually by a pulley and handle. The
eastern has been restored to working order, the western has lost its pulley chain.

Condition
East hoist although restored does not work, but apparatus still extant. Makers mark on winch
of 'Herbert Morris Ltd Loughborough England'. West hoist broken although apparatus still
extant. Vertical brick lined shafts appear ok

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Unique features on the island which were still used until the early 20th century when the upper
gun batteries were built. Showing signs of neglect and decay it is assumed that they have
been replaced or repaired during their lifetime but still provide a fascinating insight into the
circluation and working of the batteries. The method of transportation of munitions is
presented here and, although not original, they still retain a moderately high level of
significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazines 1860 B

No image available

Description
These are arranged in three groups, access to which is via two sloping passages from the
main magazine and three subsidiary passages from the rear of the gun casemates; two stairs
at each end lead from the casemate area to low lighting passages in the top of the access
passages around the rear of the expense magazines (see 1895 plan). The magazine
chambers are numbered 7-17 and have their own significance entries

Condition
The overall condition is one of damage and continued deterioration. Some areas are blocked
and some rooms have lost wooden floors and fixings

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As part of the complex of underground magazines these features form an important part of the
funtioning of the lower battery. They are situated as an intermediate store of munitions
between the main magazines and the lower battery of guns. They provide important
information about the flow and functions of the battery as a whole and therefore retain a high
level of significance for group value. They have been affected by later use and access and are
suffering as a result. Some loss of original fabric has reduced their potential heritage value
but, the later influences are also an important part of their development. Secure enough to
provide protection even in the mid 20th century. Complete with lighting galleries all separated
from the magazines for safety reasons they remain a well preserved example of their type

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazine Room 7 B07

No image available

Description
Unlabelled on 1895 plan. Timber battening survives on the side walls and continues across a
blocked doorway sited opposite the door from the passage. It has stone side end walls
containing vents and a brick barrel-vault. There is an inserted doorway (it has no stone lintel)
in the west wall. The chamber may have been converted into a magazine from previous use
as perhaps a lamp or small store.

Condition
In deteriorating condition. Passage way on north side has sectional ceramic drain now
exposed under concrete floor supported on red brick walls. Floor broken away (dangerous).
Walls in this area also have significant graffitti dating to the 1940's (may be more)

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Possibly altered from its original purpose and continued deterioration this feature retains a
moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazine Room 8 B08

No image available

Description
Labelled as No.1 cartridge store. No battens survive; there are vents in the roof but not
apparently in the side walls. To the east there is a shifting lobby and passages leading to an
?issuing hatch and the the rear of the casemates. There are no lables above any of the
doors.

Condition
Same as B07 slow deterioration floor areas around these expense magazines have been lost
of compromised

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Originally a cartridge store it retains some fabric but its overall condition is becoming
compromised and therefore retains a moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazine Room 9 B09

No image available

Description
Labelled as No.2 cartridge store. Original doorframe, batten sockets, brick barrel vaulting. On
wall of passage near the N. door red lettering ("Reserved Fire", with red circle under) overlies
black italic lettering including R & F. A door in the south wall of the chamber gives into a
passage leading to a issuing hatch with a lamp window above.

Condition
Structurally good condition but flooring is missing, exposing the ceramic salt glazed drain

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Due to the loss of original fabric such as the floor this has reduced the overall significance of
this feature to a moderate level

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazine Room 10 B10

No image available

Description
Labelled as dressing rooms, accesible from access passage to expense magazines and from
covered way. Vaulted chambers lit by broad inserted windows; until recently used as toilets,
now unused.

Condition
Most recently ued as toilet and wash room the original features would appear to have been
removed. The modern wash room facilities are broken and disused

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


An important purpose sets this room aside from the magazine and expense magazines. Part
of a pair of such rooms it is labelled as dressing room and allowed personnel to enter from the
rear of the casemates and into a changing room where suitable clothing was used. The utmost
care was taken around the magazines and associated expense magazines so that the risk of
flame or spark was kept to a minimum. Soldiers changed from uniforms and into clothing that
bore no metal, shoes were replaced with canvass etc. All this was planned and the whole
fortification was managed by strict protocol. Even though this room has been converted into a
modern wash room and toilet it still retains a moderately level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazine Room 11 B11

No image available

Description
Labelled as dressing rooms, accesible from access passage to expense magazines and from
covered way. Vaulted chambers lit by broad inserted windows; until recently used as toilets,
now unused.

Condition
Most recently ued as toilet and wash room the original features would appear to have been
removed. The modern wash room facilities are broken and disused

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


An important purpose sets this room aside from the magazine and expense magazines. Part
of a pair of such rooms it is labelled as dressing room and allowed personnel to enter from the
rear of the casemates and into a changing room where suitable clothing was used. The utmost
care was taken around the magazines and associated expense magazines so that the risk of
flame or spark was kept to a minimum. Soldiers changed from uniforms and into clothing that
bore no metal, shoes were replaced with canvass etc. All this was planned and the whole
fortification was managed by strict protocol. And even though this room has been converted
into a modern wash room and toilet it still retains a moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazine Room 12 B12

No image available

Description
Labelled as a shell store, doorway from passage blocked, interior not viewed.

Condition
Access is possible from north end of casemates with evidence of alterations including blocking
and doorways lined in brick. Generally good.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Suffering from lack of original fixtures and fittings and demonstrating some evidence of later
alteration this feature has a moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazine Room 13 B13

No image available

Description
Labelled as a cartridge store. Doorway blocked, as is entry to passage to rear of casemates;
open lamp window, room filled with old electrical fittings.

Condition
generally good condition with some wall mounted electrical boxes.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Suffering from lack of original fixtures and fittings and demonstrating some evidence of later
alteration this feature has a moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazine Room 14 B14

No image available

Description
Labelled as a cartridge store. No battens or doorframes; had a raised wooden floor. An
issuing hatch in its east wall gives into a passage to the rear of the casemates. Empty

Condition
Walls appear sound but flooring is missing exposing rubble surface

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Suffering from lack of original fixtures and fittings and demonstrating some evidence of later
alteration this feature has a moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazine Room 15 B15

No image available

Description
Labelled as a shell store. Entered from the north, another passage leads through its west wall
to a stairway (lit by a lamp window which still apparently retains its iron frame and (recently
replaced and broken) glass) to the lamp passage running above the main access passage;
the passage continues out to the rear of the casemates. Chamber retains wooden battens
and an iron loop in the ceiling above the W. door

Condition
Expense magazine still as described in earlier survey.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Suffering from lack of original fixtures and fittings and demonstrating some evidence of later
alteration this feature has a moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazine Room 16 B16

No image available

Description
Labelled as a cartridge store. Has been adapted later as it has sockets inserted into the the
side walls and into the crown of the vault. Retains original raised wooden flooring and skirting
boards (only other known example is in the main magazine at Fort Stamford), as does the
passage beyond leading to an issuing batch opening on the rear of the casemates and lit by a
lamp window above.

Condition
The significant wooden floor mentioned in the earlier survey has begun to decay. A hole has
appeared in the corner exposing the joists underneath and the flooring along the passage is in
a bad condition. Some of the angled skirting survives but is also under threat

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


The significance due to the surviving sections of original wooden flooring is being
compromised and is being reduced by its decay. Still retaining an important value for this
reason and while the floor fabric survives it retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazine Room 17 B17

No image available

Description
Labelled as a lamp (room/store)

Condition
access possible. Revealing a barrel-vaulted roof in brick with stone rubble walls. All in good
condition. Used to store concrete blocks

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


This small room is set amongst the rest of the expense magazines and gives access onto the
rear of the casemates. Probably used for a more utilitarian purpose it still had an important
place in the organisation of the battery. It therefore retains a moderate level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Expense magazines for upper RML battery 1860s C

No image available

Description
Double tiered set of six pairs of barrel vaulted magazine chambers, arranged in an arc from
north around to the west, separating and serving five gun positions. Access to upper tier
(described under 6" BL battery) through doorways at ground level, access to lower tier via a
rear passage, entered from both ends. Branch passages lead to two hoists (No 6) located at
each end of the magazine below.
With the construction of the BL and QF batteries in 1901 the four western underground
magazines were utilised as cartridge and shell stores for the BL battery and new lifts were
inserted, together with access stairwells containing davits for emergency ammunition supply.
The other two were used as magazines for the QF battery, and new access stair was
constructed on the site of one of the RML positions. Above ground, the western and the two
northern chambers were demolished, and the remainder used as stores for lamps, and oil and
paint.
Each componant has been given a number from C.18-C.23

Condition
Although this group of features have been altered to accommodate the later QF abd BL
batteries they retain much of their character and remain in good condition

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As a part fo the 1860's RML gun batteries these features must be taken into consideration for
gropu value. Subsequent changes have adapted them but they remained suitable and were
used for their original purpose. Due to the erosion of original fabric they retain a moderately
high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Room 18: Cartridge Store C18

No image available

Description
This has no trace of wooden battening, has ventilation bricks and is lit by a lamp-window
(retaining its iron guiding ring) from the main passage. There is a blocked-up serving hatch
opposite which a passage leads to the top of the lift down to the main magazine. The pulley
loop is still in-situ together with its iron guard-rail. This may be original. Both chamber and
passage are empty.

Condition
All in good condition. The lift to the main magazine at the end of the passage is still there as is
the frame with iron loop. The guard rail is pesent but appears to have been moved.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Remodelled by 1901 but still retaining its mid 19th century character and principal layout.
Originally use as a cartridge store and served the upper RML battery. Although this feature
has been altered it still holds a significant value due to its association with the later 1901
battery. It therefore retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Room 19 - Shell Store C19

No image available

Description
Has venitilation bricks, with lamp-windows in the side walls. On the passage wall there is a
red triangle within a circle; it appears to be a fairly modern marking, with the lettering 'A23' in it
in grey.

Condition
In good condition with no sign of water ingress or deterioration

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Remodelled by 1901 but still retaining its mid 19th century character and principal layout.
Originally use as a shell store and served the upper RML battery. Although this feature has
been altered it still holds a significant value due to its association with the later 1901 battery. It
therefore retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Room 20 - Shell Store C20

No image available

Description
Has lamp-windows in its original side walls and a lift shaft in its rear wall. Most of the
doorframes of the magazines appear original

Condition
Shell lift close by in passage is in a state of decay as rain water runs down the shute. Debris is
collecting on concrete base. Wooden shoe is still present however but decaying

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Remodelled by 1901 but still retaining its mid 19th century character and principal layout.
Originally use as a cartridge store and served the upper RML battery. Although this feature
has been altered and has a later shell lift inserted in its wall, it still holds a significant value due
to its association with the later 1901 battery. It therefore retains a moderately high level of
significance.

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Room 21 - Cartridge Store C21

No image available

Description
Has rendered walls, lamp-windows not visible, has a blocked serving hatch and a lift shaft in
the rear wall. Empty

Condition
Still has rendered walls as per earlier survey and in good condition

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Remodelled by 1901 but still retaining its mid 19th century character and principal layout.
Originally use as a cartridge store and served the upper RML battery. Although this feature
has been altered it still holds a significant value due to its association with the later 1901
battery. It therefore retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Room 22 - Cartridge Store C22

No image available

Description
Has rendered walls, a lift shaft in the rear wall and a blocked serving hatch in the front wall.
Empty. Beyond is the cartridge lift for the central 6" gun, all the fittings and wooden casing
survive together with a (modern) label. The original label is on the wall to the right and is only
just legible. It also points along the passage and appears to read on its upper line "To Field"
and on the lower line "shell store"

Condition
Cartridge store in good condition. Cartridge lift to west still extant with wooden framing
survives but in rapid decline as water falls down shute. Handle rusted and beginning to break
up. Some of the sign on the walls still legible but deteriorating.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Remodelled by 1901 but still retaining its mid 19th century character and principal layout.
Originally use as a shell store and served the upper RML battery. Although this feature has
been altered it still holds a significant value due to its association with the later 1901 battery. It
therefore retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Tanks D

No image available

Description
A series of brick-vaulted underground chambers aligned E/W and located immediately south
of the ablution block, entered via a manhole at the east end. Not investigated as they are at
least waist deep in water. They apparently extend beyond the western end of the ablution
block and turn southwards towards the WWII gun eomplacement. They are connected by
large circular openings rather than by doorways, suggesting they me be 19th century water
cisterns.

Condition
This feature was not found so accurate assessment was not possible

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


As possible cisterns used to store water for the accommodation on the island these features
must be taken into consideration as an important part of the domestic side of island life.
Although not seen and are likely to have some damage they retain a low level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Room 23 - Shell Store C23

No image available

Description
The passage opposite leads to the top of an 1870's hoist to the main magazine; this retains
its guard rail, pulley wheel and loop in situ. The expense has lamp-windows in the side walls,
and in the rear wall a shell lift to the central 6" gun above has been inserted. This retains its
winding handle and the shute, but has lost its shoe. In the roof to the right of the hoist there is
a possible voice pipe. On the floor in line with the handle there is a concrete block with three
tie-bolts within it, possibly for a later engine to work the hoist. Chamber empty.

Within the western entrance to the access passage there are two small cupbaords on each
side with original sliding doors. They are very shallow in depth and have been half blocked in
and filled with rubble.

Condition
The shell lift apparatus is beginning to deteriorate. The winding handle is still present as is the
possible engine base. But the wood framing around the shell lift is in poor condition due to
water falling down shute. The cartridge lift at the end of the passage is still there as is the iron
loop.The guard rail is now removed from its original position and lying on the ground.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Remodelled by 1901 but still retaining its mid 19th century character and principal layout.
Originally use as a shell store and served the upper RML battery. Although this feature has
been altered it still holds a significant value due to its association with the later 1901 battery. It
therefore retains a moderately high level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


Wessex Archaeology Drake's Island
Component Data Sheet

Tank E

No image available

Description
This is located underneath the 1951 Sergeants' Mess which has now been demolished. Their
character was not ascertained as access not gained.

Condition
This feature was not located or assessed but assumed to be present.

Discussion and Assessment of Significance


Of undated origin a more detailed analyis should be made of their condition and extent. But at
this time must be considered to retain a low level of significance

Drake's Island Building Survey


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