Why were Forts necessary?
Small colonies like St. Kitts always were in danger of being taken by the enemy especially during wartime. There had to be a protective force on island at all times to guard both people and property. Many of these forces were voluntary, as in the Militia but during the Colonial years, the British Government sent out troops of soldiers who occupied the forts.
Names of the Forts
There were four forts in
stretching along the Bay front and thus providing security for the whole town.
They were not all constructed at one time nor were they all standing at the
same time. Today there is little left of
any of them. Basseterre
Location of the Forts
From West to East, there was
Fort Thomas previously known as
Bluff Point, Fort Londonderry, Fort
Pine and .
Few remains of these forts still exist. Fort Smith
The most obvious reminder is the street named for the forts; Fort Street.
Costs of construction
Huge sums of money coming from both the Home Government and locally were used to construct these forts.
Besides the troops sent out by the Kings and Queens of
, there were local
“volunteers” who raised troops called the Militia. Each estate had to
“volunteer” one man and a horse and the trappings for the horse. The Militia
added support to HM’s troops when needed. England
Fort Thomas or Bluff Point
Fort Thomas or was in its heyday,
it was armed with eight 24 pound guns facing the sea. Its elevation at the time was 53 feet above
sea level. Fort
Of all the forts which were located in
this one is the most well known today as it has become the venue for many
different events. Originally after its use as a fort it was used as a
quarantine hospital for the troops which fell ill. It is located in what is
known as the Fortlands named for their vicinity to the fort itself. The lands
at one time were all cane fields. Basseterre
In the 20th century
was the site for a Holiday Inn, the well known chain of inns. After that it became known as the Fort Thomas
Hotel for a few years. Fort Thomas
More recently it was the original home of the St. Kitts Music Festival until that venue was moved to Warner Park. It is presently being used as the “home” of part of the Defense Force, ironically coming full circle to house a military type group.
This fort stood on the site of the first French fort on the island and was located centrally on the
Bay Road between Brownbill Street to Fort Street. Some of its walls remain, as well as part of
the magazine. A magazine is where the
ammunition was stored. There is also another
small area of stone construction which may have been either ordinance storage
or cook house. A study of the remains is
yet to be done.
There is no evidence left of this fort today. It was located near to where the Sol oil storage facility is located today. When it was operational it held two 24 pound guns and was only 6.5 feet above sea level approximately the same level as
near to it. Fort
This fort was located in Bird Rock on the premises now known as the Lighthouse. There are still a few reminders of it left today. If you look carefully through the fence you can see some of the stonework left from this fort.