Fort Amherst is the biggest Napoleonic fortress in Britain. The origins of the Chatham Lines having been built in 1756, as a result of a French invasion scare. Between 1775 and 1783, Britain was embroiled in the American wars of independence, and the Chatham defences were further developed in order to prevent a French attack on Chatham. Part of this development included the construction of Fort Townsend and Fort Amherst.
“In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the Lower Lines were built. Fort Amherst was strengthened with the addition of Spur Battery and Prince William’s Battery (at Chatham’s highest point) and a Horn Work (an Italian style of fortification). The Guardhouse and bridge that protected the roads was also rebuilt. Cannon were placed around what was now commonly known as the Chatham Lines. Cannon must have dry gunpowder – so the Fort Amherst Grand Magazine was built as the main powder store”
The Command of the Heights project included making Fort Amherst accessible to the public, with respect to the history and the heritage of this site. The ambition for the ‘Command of the Heights’ project was to restore and enhance Fort Amherst, as a space of historic significance, with a strong vision for the future, and to inject new lifeblood into the area, by engaging people from all walks of life to help shape the future of the site.