Saturday, 10th March, 1860
New Battery On The Cheshire Coast
Whilst there is so much talk about the defences of the port, it is not a little singular that that no notice has been taken publicly of the construction of a small but very powerful battery on the sea coast of Liscard just completed, immediately below the site of the old Powder Magazine. This may arise from the fact that the battery, which is en barbette, is semi-masked in character; and the passengers to New Brighton by the boats see nothing but a plain wall and innocent grass mound where there are placed in position, under proper protection and in working order, seven of the largest sized guns in her majesty’s service, and whose concentrated fire would sink the largest ship afloat. The works which have been very quietly conducted, have been two years in progress; but the armament has only recently been completed, -- about twenty of the militia artillery from Liverpool being taken over to assist in the mounting of the monster guns. The Liscard Battery, which can in no sense be called a fortress, is, however, enclosed by a substantial stone wall, quadrangular in form, of no great thickness or height, but with a low tower at three of the corners, and one at each side of the gateway. The wall, which is of red mended, and there is a small window or look-out in each of the towers. There is barrack accommodation inside – and not of the most superior description – for about 30 gunners; but the place of course, will never be fully occupied except in case of positive danger. A winding earthen parapet parapet serves as a shelter for the guns, which are placed on two tiers of different elevation, four on the upper and three on the lower.
Some idea of the size of the guns may perhaps be formed from the fact that they weigh about 88 cwt. each, and that they are ten inches in diameter at the mouth of the bore. They are also of considerable length, being in fact rather long howitzers than guns. Like most other ordnance for coast, river, or harbour defences, they are intended for shells, grape, and canister, rather than solid shot. They are of size sufficient for the projection of a hollow shot weighing 87½ lbs. The guns are mounted on traversing platforms, which describe sufficient of a circle to admit of the whole of them being brought to bear upon one object; and the power of concentrating the fire, added to the size of the guns, gives to this small and otherwise insignificant work, a character really formidable. The North Fort, which lies almost immediately opposite on the Liverpool side, is quite commanded by this battery. It certainly mounts more guns, but they are of less calibre; they could only be concentrated to a very limited extent in this particular direction, two guns at the most being brought to bear; whilst the whole seven of the Liscard battery could rain destruction upon the North Fort. This being so, the startling thought naturally arises, that there is nothing to prevent a battery, which could inflict such damage on Liverpool side, from being taken in the rear. In case of hostile invasion, a land force would be absolutely necessary for its protection; and certainly commodious barracks could be found in the old Magazines immediately above, which appear now to serve the use only of barns to a neighbouring farmer. This Liscard battery is completely furnished with stores, comprising the latest form of shell, and every new mechanical appliance; and, waiting only the complement of gunners, who could be speedily brought from Chester, it is ready for action at a minute’s notice.
On dit that the Rock or Perch will shortly pulled down, and a new battery en barbette constructed in its stead, and that abandoning the idea of the north shore at Liverpool as unsuitable in many respects, the military authorities have been surveying various sites on the Birkenhead side, to find a suitable open, where the artillery volunteers of the district may be exercised in throwing up earth-works and practicing their guns.