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Fort Burgoyne

In August 1859 a Royal Commission was instructed to look into the  “present state, condition and sufficiency of the Fortifications existing  for the defence of our United Kingdom.” One of the experts consulted  by the Commissioners was General Sir John Burgoyne, who pointed out  that any attacker who could occupy the high ground to the north of  Dover Castle would dominate the Castle. He recommended that a fort  be built on this high ground to protect the Castle from attack. Work  started on the construction of the fort in 1861, and it was originally  known as Castle Hill Fort but was soon renamed Fort Burgoyne in  honour of the General. The fort was finally completed by the end of  1868 at a total cost of £88,053. The fort is polygonal with a 35 foot wide ditch around it. In the centre  of the north face, hidden in the ditch, is a double caponier to give  flanking fire along the ditch floor in both directions. At both the north  east and north west corners of the fort are single caponiers, with  another on the west flank to give cover to the remaining ditches. The  main fort is flanked by two wing redoubts, each with its own gun  emplacements, one on each side connected to the main fort by ditch  works. The battery at the west wing was protected by a caponier to  defend the ditch. The Dover to Deal road crosses the eastern ditch and the Dover to Guston road the western ditch. In the centre of the fort is a parade ground surrounded on three sides  by bomb proof barracks protected by a covering of earth on top of  which were the main gun positions. There are also two earth ramps  from the parade ground up to the level of the gun emplacements for  the transporting of the guns to their emplacements. The fort was  initially armed with 29 guns on the ramparts of which 6 were in Haxo  casemates (bomb proof vaulted gun emplacements designed by  General Haxo). In the caponiers and flanking batteries there was room  for 26 smaller guns, and two guns on the parade ground level  protected the ditch to the east wing battery. East wing battery was  equipped with five guns and west wing battery with four. The armament of the fort was updated though out the 19th century to  keep abreast of developments in weaponry. By 1906 all the large guns  had been removed and replaced by three machine guns in the fort and  three in its wing batteries. At this time the fort became a defensible  barrack and a base for mobile guns rather than a permanent defence.  During the First World War brick gun emplacements were constructed  and during the Second World War, when the fort was home to two  batteries of 25 pounder field guns, concrete emplacements were  added. Fort Burgoyne remains virtually unchanged today but it is has never  been accessible to the public, being within the secure area of the  former Connaught Barracks.  In March 2014 plans were announced  that will open the fort to the public now that the barracks site is to be  redeveloped for housing.  The plans are in their early stages but could  see the conversion of some parts of the building into holiday  accommodation.  
A Victorian Plan of Fort Burgoyne.  Showing the main fort with the barracks surrounding the parade ground. The Parade Ground. The bomb proof barracks are under the arches. The main gun positions on top of the bomb proof barracks.