Ramparts of Empire
The Fortifications of Sir William Jervois, Royal Engineer 1821-1897
Distributed for University of Exeter Press
In 1860, Palmerston’s parliament sanctioned the construction of the largest system of fortifications that the British Isles had ever seen, or would ever see again, in order to defend against a feared French invasion. William Jervois (1821–97), then a young major in the Royal Engineers, was appointed as “design leader” of this program, which later led to a career in fortress construction that spanned continents and empires. This volume is a detailed study of Jervois’s life and works, based on extensive use of extracts from his diary and illustrations of his most important fortresses, offering the reader a rounded picture of his glittering career, as well as the political and technical considerations involved in fort and armament construction.
1. Early Days in Africa
2. Appointment in Alderney
3. The Threat from France
4. The 1859 Royal Commission
5. Defending the Naval Bases
6. Missions to Canada and the United States
7. The Ironclad Forts
8. Imperial Progress
9. Australia, New Zealand and the Threat from Russia
10. Coast Defence, Honours and Retirement
11. Jervois' Work in Context
Appendix A: Gazetteer: List of fortifications and other works associated with Jervois
Appendix B: The Relative Industrial Strength of the Major Powers in the Nineteenth Century
Appendix C: The 'Battle of Dorking' and its Successors
Appendix D: The Arming of the Coaling Stations, 1884
Appendix E: 'A Plan for Attacking the Seaboard of the United States'
Appendix F: Jervois and the Channel Tunnel (1883)
Appendix G: The Relative Value of the British Pound
created. . . . exceptionally well illustrated, reproducing numerous plans, diagrams and images, dominated by forts and other buildings, many from national collections. . . . Essential reading for students of the Victorian Army and the Victorian fortress."