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Fort George

Telephone Box(S) (20th Century)

Site Name Fort George

Classification Telephone Box(S) (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Fort George, K6 Telephone Kiosks

Canmore ID 174512

Site Number NH75NE 40

NGR NH 76271 56730

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Ardersier
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Inverness
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NH75NE 40 7627 5673

See also NH75NE 3.


OS 1:2500 map, 1966.


Publication Account (1995)

When the 1745 rebellion exposed the inherent weakness of the small Highland forts and barracks, the Duke of Cumberl and called urgently for new works, and Fort George was planned in 1747 as a new impregnable northern base. The site finally chosen was a flat, barren spit of land jutting out into the Moray Firth at Ardersier. William Skinner, newly appointed military engineer for North Britain, designed the fort and largely on the strength of its success rose to be Director of Engineers with the rank of Lieutenant-General. The new stronghold was a bastioned artillery fortress designed to the highest European standards. Within the defences were extensive ranges of buildings to accommodate the Governor and other officers, an artillery unit and a garrison of sixteen hundred infantry, together with a magazine, ordnance and provision stores, a bakehouse, a brewhouse and a chapel. The contract for the masonwork and brickwork was held first by WiIliam Adam, and on his death in 1748 by his sons John, Robert and James.

Though the fort is still in use by the army today, the visitor may see all the defences and inside many of the buildings. The fort is defended by a sophisticated system of ramparts and angled bastions, huge earthworks faced in stone, with projecting sentry boxes at intervals. The bastions are provided with cannon embrasures and musketry firing steps, and a number of old guns have been installed.

At the landward end of the promontory is a complex outer earthwork called the Ravelin, where the outer ditch and the main ditch are crossed by wooden bridges. Within the fort there are various displays, those in the guardroom and barrack blocks recreating life in the fort at different periods in the fort's history. There is a private soldiers' barrack room of 1780, when eight men shared the room, two to a bed, and cooking was done over the fire; an officer's room of the Napoleonic war period; and an enlisted ranks' room of 1868, when five men lived in a room in single beds. An opportunity to see inside the Lieutenant-Governor and Fort Major's House, the elegant building with simple pedimented facade that balances the Governor's House at the opposite end of the main block, is provided by its use as the Regimental Museum of the Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Cameron). The building has a plain wooden staircase but some elegant Adam fireplaces remain.

A feature of the fort are the casemates, underground bomb-proof barrack rooms dug into the back of the ramparts, each meant to hold up to forty men so that the whole garrison could be accommodated there in times of siege. An unaltered casemate is usualIy open to visitors. On the south side of the fort is the Grand Magazine, a squat building with immensely thick walIs designed to withstand a direct hit from a mortar bomb; inside there are replica powder barrels mounted on racks and a video programme about the fort. Also housed here is the remarkable collection of late 18th-century arms and equipment long kept at Castle Grant, used by militia and other regiments raised by Sir James Grant; these include not only 190 India pattern muskets and 134 pikes, but most unusual survivals like ammunition pouches and knapsacks. At the far end of the fort stands the chapel with a castellated west tower and flanking stair turrets; inside a two-tiered arcade of timber columns supports a gallery on three sides. The original three-decker pulpit, once in front of the chancel arch, has been moved to one side and its splendid domed canopy stored away.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Highlands’, (1995).

Excavation (4 December 2007 - 10 December 2007)

NH 7627 5672 Minor excavations were carried out, 4–10 December 2007, in advance of construction work. Four

trenches were excavated to a depth that allowed the laying of service ducts. Trench 1 measured 13.5m N/S by 8.4m wide and was to the rear (W) of the NW corner of the artillery block in a walled courtyard. Trench 2 continued N from the courtyard to a service box. Trench 3 continued N from the service box. Trench 4 turned E from the end of Trench 3 to another service box.

Deposits thought to date to the original 18th-century construction of the artillery block and a series of later

disturbance and rebuilding were recorded.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Historic Scotland

Alan Radley (Kirkdale Archaeology), 2008

Watching Brief (October 2012)

NH 7625 5673 A watching brief was undertaken in October 2012 during the replacement of a wooden floor, in room G2 of the Highlanders Museum. The rotten floor joists and infill material were removed and foundation trenches for sleeper walls excavated.

No evidence was found of earlier buildings or major alterations. Natural beach sands were overlain in some areas by an uneven layer of lime mortar, probably the product of plastering or rendering rather than a deliberately laid floor. Joists had been laid directly over this and the spaces between them packed with imported rubble and debris, mostly similar to the natural underlying material but also including lime, sandstone and brick debris. The trenches for the new walls cut into the clean, natural material below.

Archive: HAS. Report: Highland HER

Funder: Highlanders Museum

Lynne McKeggie and John Wood, Highland Archaeology Services, 2013

(Source: DES)

Watching Brief (July 2017)

NH 762 567 A watching brief was carried out, July 2017, within the scheduled monument of Fort George. The hand excavation of a small trench for a memorial stone recorded no finds or features of archaeological significance.

Archive: NRHE (intended). Report: Highland HER

Funder: Historic Environment Scotland

Samantha Hickman – CFA Archaeology Ltd

(Source: DES, Volume 18)


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