Protecting the most significant buildings, monuments and features of Pembroke (6)

Fort Pembroke and its armaments

The largest British coastal defence in Pembroke is Fort Pembroke. It was built between 1875 and 1878 on the high ridge overlooking the northerly seaward approach to the Grand Harbour. Its main armaments were three 11-inch rifle muzzle loading guns and one 64-powder gun, all mounted en barbette (a protective circular concrete emplacement around a gun that fired over the top of the parapet).

The fort was shaped like an elongated hexagon surrounded by a ditch and glacis and contains underground magazines and casemated quarters for the garrison.

By the mid-1890s, the fort's armaments were considered obsolete and required replacement, but the change never materialised and the use of the fort became more of a depot and storage area, especially for small arms ammunition. Later, the gate was widened, it's rolling Guthrie Bridge was dismantled and replaced by a fixed metal bridge.

Following the closure of the Pembroke military establishments in 1978, the fort remained unused for some time but it was later allocated for use as the Verdala International School which still operates from this historic site.

Mepa scheduled Fort Pembroke in 1996 as Grade 1 property of historic, architectural and contextual value as it forms part of a larger scheduled military complex. In 2009, its protection status was revised to also included its surviving glacis as republished in the Government Notice number 880/09 dated October 30, 2009.

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