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Friday, January 25, 2013

Wed 23rd Jan 2013 - The Needles Old Battery.

A new site for the Green Gym this week, at the Needles Old Battery, giving a hand to the sterling group of volunteers who have been restoring lots of rooms and other areas over the last five years.  There were three tasks, the first for a small group clearing much mud and debris from one of the tunnels, and loading it in barrels for disposal.  The second task was to clear a very long stretch of concrete gully at the edge of the road leading down to the main entrance, and dispose all the debris; the final task was to clear the weeds and grass from an area near the tea rooms, where there used to be buildings for the soldiers.

Basic History.

The Needles Batteries were constructed between 1861 and 1895 for coastal defence against the threat of French invasion.  They played an important role in the defence of Southern Britain during two worlds wars, and between 1956 and 1971 the New Battery was used by Saunders Roe for testing the Black Knight and Black Arrow space rocket engines, prior to the rockets being shipped to Woomera for launching.  The Batteries and surrounding downland were acquired by the National Trust in 1975, with the Old Battery being opened to the public in 1982 after extensive restoration.

Many thanks to Carrie for the editorial, history lesson and photographs.

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