Modern History

During WWII the tunnels were utilised by the Anti-Invasion Planning Unit and Civil Defence, who used a section as their headquarters.  This is where Civil Defence was co-ordinated for the North Kent area in the event of bombing as well as support and assistance to the general public after such an incident.  A section of the tunnels has been reconstructed into the Civil Defence HQ as it was in 1939.

modernhistoryIn the late 1970’s a group of enthusiasts were given permission by the Ministry of Defence to start tidying up the site, with the intention of restoring Fort Amherst.  In 1980 the Fort was purchased from the MoD by the Fort Amherst and Lines Trust and public open days began.  In subsequent years additional areas of the Fort were purchased and the Fort Amherst Heritage Trust now owns and manages 20 acres of the fortifications.  Half of this land has been carefully restored and further areas will be restored over time.

Fort Amherst remains the most intricate part of the Chatham Lines.  The underground works, complicated gun batteries, Haxo Casemates, Grand Magazine and the important defensive Guardhouse are just some of the many fascinating features on this site that visitors can explore.  Fort Amherst has been described Britain’s largest Napoleonic fortress.