Thursday, April 18, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Appalling decision over Coalhouse Fort

Coalhouse 2


I write on behalf of my members who were appalled to find out that another part of Thurrock’s Heritage is being allowed to go.

Coalhouse Fort built in 1869 at a cost of £130,000 will no longer be maintained by the wonderful volunteers of the Coalhouse Fort Project.

There will be no more open days and no more guided tours. As I write various items including guns, military vehicles and nodels are being removed and relocated elsewhere.

It is not even certain that this will be used as an educational facility anymore. Coalhouse Fort is one of, if not the finest example of an armoured casemate fort in England.

When the Coalhouse Fort Project took over the building was barely distinguishable from the parade square as it was overgrown with brambles and weeds.

Over the last 30 years they have worked hard to get the fort in a condition suitable for opening to the public and thus allowing the people of not just Thurrock but Essex and South East England to see this wonderful part of England’s military history.

Thurrock Council will now be able add Coalhouse Fort to the list of buildings it has allowed to disappear like Belhus Manor, Belmont Castle and more recently Cholley’s Farm.

Susan A. Yates
Thurrock Local History Society


  1. This is indeed appalling , how has this decision remained under the radar , I certainly wasn’t aware of it. We have attended many open days and had guided tours over the years. As already stated by Susan , this is a very short sighted decision made by someone who has probably never visited or know of it’s history, a great great shame.

  2. Susan clearly has no grasp of the current situation or the level of delapidation that still exists within the Fort. TBC are not leaving the Fort to its own fate but are instead working together with appropriate and professional bodies to ensure the future of the Fort. The kind of works needed and the sums of money are well beyond what the current hobbirsts would have been able to deal with.

  3. How about the council forget about their vanity job of new offices and put the money into restoring our history?

  4. A lot of the artifacts and exhibits were donated to the Coal house fort Project by locals .They should not be removed .Whilst I think the fort which is a village asset should be protected and also open to the public more often .I know the volunteers in the project have perhaps been somewhat insular due to a poor interaction with the council .One fact which ij find hard to believe is the council have stated nothing has been done .Well a fact they have not been too transparent about is that They have the fort on a thousand year lease from the ministry of defence .The coalhouse fort project have not held a lease or a certificate from Thurrock council to actually be legally inside the fort .Even though certain emails and press releases suggest otherwise .They have not held any type of lease since 2006 .They are a registered charity holding substantial funds raised by the volunteers for the fort not council money .In fact the only money I know that has been spent on the fort is the lottery grant money .managed by the council .Did the application to the lottery make mention of the fort project to support the application I wonder .My opinion is that you cannot criticise or lambast a group that have been so poorly managed by the council who have swung the proverbial axe over their heads for so long .So all of a sudden the council have an interest or do they .Managed ruins become prime development sites in the future .Our council are now a development company in their own right .They have jumped at the chance of removing the old coalhouse fort project I have to ask why .Historic England monitor this or do they .There is impending threat from the Thames of this area actually flooding ,No council investment to protect “The two forts way ” part of TBCs advertised section of the coastal path .Then of course the Lower Thames crossing have purchased all the land either side of the village .The beacon lighting event attracted more members of the public than did the similar event at purfleet .Is it that the council have realised a potential commercial opportunity as money tends to drive them not service .I would also like to remind them that the road infrastructure through the village does not lend itself to increased traffic .and we would like to keep our Free carpark .It a sad day when elderly volunteers who have dedicated years are tossed aside and the council wish to takeover after years of disinterested management or mismanagement


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


More articles