Monday, 16 January 2012

I have been to ... Brimstone Hill Fortress, St Kitts

Brimstone Hill Fortress is situated on the island of St Kitts (St Christopher) in the Leeward Islands in the West Indies. It now forms part of the Brimstone Hill National Park, which was created in 1987 and recognised as a World Heritage Site in 1999.

The first fortifications were built in on Brimstone Hill in 1690, when British troops mounted cannon on Brimstone Hill during operations to recapture Fort Charles from the French. The fortress was gradually extended and expanded over the following 100 years, by which time is was frequently referred to as 'The Gibraltar of the West Indies'.

The fortress was besieged in 1782 by French forces led by Admiral Comte François Joseph Paul de Grasse. The nearby island of Nevis had already surrendered to the French, and Admiral Hood’s force was unable to force the French to raise their siege, with the result that after holding out for a month, the British garrison of Brimstone Hill Fortress was forced to surrender.


Nevis and St Kitts were restored to British control as a result of the Treaty of Paris (1783), and Brimstone Hill Fortress fortifications were further expanded and strengthened to ensure that it would never again fall into enemy hands.

The Fortress was garrisoned until the outbreak of the Crimean War, after which it was abandoned. It has undergone considerable restoration since the 1960s, and this process continues today.


Areas that can be toured include the imposing Citadel, Western Place of Arms, Eastern Place of Arms, and Fort George Museum, all a steep walk up from the main parking area via a set of ramps and steps. Other areas include the Magazine Bastion, whose walls were breached by the French in 1782, ruins of the Royal Engineers' Quarters, ruins of the Artillery Officers' Quarters, Infantry Officers' Quarters, and the Orillon Bastion. The ruins of the barracks are a short walk from the car parking area.

Prince of Wales Bastion





Fort George (including the Citadel and outworks)




















Note: The island of Nevis can be seen in the background.

Carronade Battery



Infantry Officers' Quarters


Orillon Bastion

10 comments:

  1. Interesting. Lots of great pictures! Looks like you had the place to yourself. ha ha

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  2. Fitz-Badger,

    I thought that the pictures might be of use to anyone who wanted to build a model of an 18th/19th century fortress as they give some idea about how they were built and the various elements located.

    On the day we went there were our party of ten (plus a guide) and another small party of about the same size. This meant that I could wander about almost totally on my own.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Hi Bob,

    Gotta love that sea view! Interesting to see the assorted artillery on display as well.

    The whole place looks familiar in a way and I will be blown if I know why!

    All the best,

    DC

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  4. David Crook,

    The fortress has a very commanding position ... hence its title of 'Gibraltar of the West Indies'.

    Perhaps you visited it in a former 'life' ... or it reminds you of a similar fortress in the UK?

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Thank you very much for taking the trouble to post those shots.

    Masses of detail there that makes all the difference to the look of a model.


    I shall study these at my leidure over the next few weeks.

    John

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  6. Johnpreece,

    I am glad that you found the photographs useful.

    I must admit that looking at them again has given me a few ideas for building a small fort (or two) that I can use in my wargames.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Wonderful pictures. I will certainly steal that map for a kreigspiel at some point.

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  8. Conrad Kinch,

    The map was created using a Google Earth image as its basis. I then tidied it up and added the captions.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. hi just a correction. that is not Nevis in the background that is Sint Eustatius aka Statia. Its Dutch controlled island. Nevis is found south of St.Kitts

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    Replies
    1. Crystos,

      Thanks for the correction. Serves me right for not checking before I wrote my blog entry.

      All the best,

      Bob

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