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Forts built in to protect Britain from French invasion plunge in value after failing to sell

Three Victorian forts built to protect Britain from a French invasion have plunged in value by £2.25million after failing to sell.

The forts, in the Solent off Portsmouth, are now used as luxury hotels and a museum.

They were acquired 11 years ago by businessman Mike Clare, founder of the Dreams bed company.

He put them up for sale for a combined £11m in May 2018 but with no buyer forthcoming they have been reduced in price to £8.75million.

Known as ‘Palmerston’s Follies’, after Prime Minister Lord Palmerston who commissioned them, the forts were built out at sea in the 1860s. 

Victorian forts in the Solent, built to protect Britain from a French invasion have plunged in value by £2.25million after failing to sell. Horse Sand Fort is one of the three

No Man's Fort has been painstakingly redeveloped into an exclusive hotel over the years

 No Man’s Fort has been painstakingly redeveloped into an exclusive hotel over the years

Spitbank Fort is another exclusive hotel which is accessible by boat. The forts were used during World War Two but were decommissioned by the Ministry of Defence in 1956

Spitbank Fort is another exclusive hotel which is accessible by boat. The forts were used during World War Two but were decommissioned by the Ministry of Defence in 1956

The forts were acquired 11 years ago by businessman Mike Clare, founder of the Dreams bed company

The forts were acquired 11 years ago by businessman Mike Clare, founder of the Dreams bed company

They have 15ft tall granite walls and the forts were originally used as temporary army barracks.

They were used during World War Two as anti-submarine defences were strung between them but were decommissioned by the Ministry of Defence in 1956.

Two of the forts for sale, No Man’s Fort and Spitbank Fort, have been painstakingly redeveloped into exclusive hotels over the years.

The third, Horse Sand Fort, is currently used as a museum to record the history of the follies and retains the 100 chambers and living quarters, original gun carriages and armour plated walls.

No Man’s Fort has been transformed to create a 4-star island hotel with a maximum capacity of 200.

Horse Sand Fort is one of the three forts in the Solent. It is currently used as a museum to record the history of the follies

Horse Sand Fort is one of the three forts in the Solent. It is currently used as a museum to record the history of the follies

Horse Sand Fort retains the 100 chambers and living quarters, original gun carriages and armour plated walls

Horse Sand Fort retains the 100 chambers and living quarters, original gun carriages and armour plated walls

Known as 'Palmerston's Follies' after the Prime Minister Lord Palmerston who commissioned them, the forts were built out at sea in the 1860s. Pictured: Horse Sand Fort

Known as ‘Palmerston’s Follies’ after the Prime Minister Lord Palmerston who commissioned them, the forts were built out at sea in the 1860s. Pictured: Horse Sand Fort

Guests can hire the entire venue exclusively for weddings, corporate events and celebrations.

It has 23 ensuite guest bedrooms, staff quarters, a restaurant, five themed bars, laser battle play area and a spa.

The fort has 99,000 sq ft over four floors and includes a lighthouse with private dining, rooftop hot tubs, sauna, fire pit, hot pool and helipad.

Spitbank Fort is even posher with nine luxury guest suites plus staff accommodation, events spaces including a restaurant, two bars and a ‘wine cave’. 

Horse Sand Fort is being sold by auction through Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers with bids starting at £750,000

Horse Sand Fort is being sold by auction through Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers with bids starting at £750,000

The forts were first put up for sale for a combined £11m in May 2018. Pictured: Horse Sand Fort

The forts were first put up for sale for a combined £11m in May 2018. Pictured: Horse Sand Fort

The forts have been reduced in price to £8.75million after no buyer came forward last year. Pictured: Horse Sand Fort

The forts have been reduced in price to £8.75million after no buyer came forward last year. Pictured: Horse Sand Fort

Horse Sand Fort is being sold through Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers. Rob Marchant, auctioneer at Clive Emson, said: 'We sell some incredible land and properties at our actions but these forts must be among the most historically interesting'

Horse Sand Fort is being sold through Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers. Rob Marchant, auctioneer at Clive Emson, said: ‘We sell some incredible land and properties at our actions but these forts must be among the most historically interesting’

Totalling some 33,000 square feet over three floors, it has a maximum capacity of 60 and features an open central courtyard, plus roof top terrace including sauna, fire pit and hot pool.

The two hotels are being sold through estate agents Colliers and the freehold estimate for them combined is more than £8m.

Horse Sand Fort is being sold by auction through Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers with bids starting at £750,000.

Paul Barrasford, director at Colliers, said: ‘This is an incredible opportunity to acquire two of the most remarkable properties to come to the market in recent years.

The auctioneer said of the forts: 'They were built by the Victorians to last and they certainly have - and are a reminder of the threats the country was facing more than 150 years ago'. Pictured: Horse Sand Fort

The auctioneer said of the forts: ‘They were built by the Victorians to last and they certainly have – and are a reminder of the threats the country was facing more than 150 years ago’. Pictured: Horse Sand Fort

Mr Marchant added: 'There are endless possibilities for these forts and buyers do let their imaginations run wild'. Pictured: Horse Sand Fort

Mr Marchant added: ‘There are endless possibilities for these forts and buyers do let their imaginations run wild’. Pictured: Horse Sand Fort

Commissioned by Prime Minister Lord Palmerston during his tenure between 1859 and 1865, the forts were built as a line of defence against enemy attacks on the Solent and Portsmouth. Pictured: Horse Sand Fort

Commissioned by Prime Minister Lord Palmerston during his tenure between 1859 and 1865, the forts were built as a line of defence against enemy attacks on the Solent and Portsmouth. Pictured: Horse Sand Fort

Spitbank Fort has nine luxury guest suites plus staff accommodation, events spaces including a restaurant, two bars and a 'wine cave'

Spitbank Fort has nine luxury guest suites plus staff accommodation, events spaces including a restaurant, two bars and a ‘wine cave’

Totalling some 33,000 square feet over three floors, Spitbank fort has a maximum capacity of 60 and features an open central courtyard, plus roof top terrace including sauna, fire pit and hot pool

Totalling some 33,000 square feet over three floors, Spitbank fort has a maximum capacity of 60 and features an open central courtyard, plus roof top terrace including sauna, fire pit and hot pool

The two hotels are being sold through estate agents Colliers. Pictured: A gambling table at Spitbank Fort

The two hotels are being sold through estate agents Colliers. Pictured: A gambling table at Spitbank Fort

The freehold estimate for the two hotels up for sale combined is more than £8m. Pictured a fire pit at Spitbank Fort

The freehold estimate for the two hotels up for sale combined is more than £8m. Pictured a fire pit at Spitbank Fort

Spitbank Fort has a stunning view out to sea. Paul Barrasford, director at Colliers, said: 'This is an incredible opportunity to acquire two of the most remarkable properties to come to the market in recent years'

Spitbank Fort has a stunning view out to sea. Paul Barrasford, director at Colliers, said: ‘This is an incredible opportunity to acquire two of the most remarkable properties to come to the market in recent years’

A lounge at Spitbank Fort. The forts took 20 years to build but were never used in battle as intended - instead they were repurposed as temporary army barracks

A lounge at Spitbank Fort. The forts took 20 years to build but were never used in battle as intended – instead they were repurposed as temporary army barracks

Spitbank Fort is in the middle of the Solent and is accessible by boat. They were used during World War Two as anti-submarine defences were strung between them

Spitbank Fort is in the middle of the Solent and is accessible by boat. They were used during World War Two as anti-submarine defences were strung between them

‘Commissioned by Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, during his tenure between 1859 and 1865, the forts were built as a line of defence against enemy attacks on the Solent and Portsmouth.

‘They took 20 years to build but were never used in battle as intended – instead they were repurposed as temporary army barracks before being decommissioned by the Ministry of Defence in 1956.’

Rob Marchant, auctioneer at Clive Emson, said: ‘We sell some incredible land and properties at our actions but these forts must be among the most historically interesting.

‘They were built by the Victorians to last and they certainly have – and are a reminder of the threats the country was facing more than 150 years ago.

‘There are endless possibilities for these forts and buyers do let their imaginations run wild.’ 

No Man's Fort has been transformed to create a 4-star island hotel with a maximum capacity of 200

No Man’s Fort has been transformed to create a 4-star island hotel with a maximum capacity of 200

Guests can hire No Man's Fort exclusively for weddings, corporate events and celebrations

Guests can hire No Man’s Fort exclusively for weddings, corporate events and celebrations

No Man's Fort has 23 ensuite guest bedrooms, staff quarters, a restaurant, five themed bars, laser battle play area and a spa

No Man’s Fort has 23 ensuite guest bedrooms, staff quarters, a restaurant, five themed bars, laser battle play area and a spa

Who is Lord Palmerston? Britain’s oldest first-time Prime Minister 

Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston

Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston

Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, was born on October 20, 1784.

He was more than 70 years old when he was granted the title of Prime Minister in Queen Victoria’s government.

He was Prime Minister between 1859 and 1865.

This is the oldest first-time prime minister Britain has ever had.

He was in the government for 46 years in total, in a variety of different roles. 

His family did not have a history of involvement in politics before Palmerston. 

He is widely credited for Britain’s success towards the end of the Crimean war.

During his tenure he commissioned ‘Palmerston’s Follies’, three forts in the Solent to be used against enemy attacks.

Credit: Gov.uk

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