Surrey Archaeological Collections

Surrey Archaeological Society, 2003 (updated 2016)

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Surrey Archaeological Society (2016) Surrey Archaeological Collections [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

Defence against invasion: Reigate Fort


Built on the crest of the North Downs, Reigate Fort is a reminder in earth, concrete and brick of the period of competition and mistrust between Britain and France that characterised the second half of the 19th century. This, it was feared, might at some stage lead to war, with the consequent risk of invasion. During one of a number of bursts of defensive effort against this perceived danger, the fort was constructed in 1898 as part of a project for the protection of London. The latter combined limited permanent construction with contingency planning for a shielding arc of fieldworks to create a vast entrenched camp. This was the last scheme of defence for a land front in Britain during peacetime and one of the more remarkable episodes in the history of anti-invasion defence. Recognising the fort's heritage importance as a distinctive element of this, its owner, the National Trust, has carried out extensive restoration and interpretation for visitors.

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