Landguard Fort defends the approach to Harwich Harbour, a safe haven for shipping.
It was the site of the last opposed seaborne invasion of England, by the Dutch in 1667, who were repulsed by the Royal Marines in their first land battle. The current fort was built in the 18th century, and modified in the 19th century, with substantial additional 19th and 20th-century outside batteries. It was manned through both World Wars and played an important anti-aircraft role during the Second World War. In 1951 two of the old gun casemates were converted into a ‘Cold War’ control room.
In 1956 the Coastal Artillery was disbanded and Landguard Fort no longer had a national military purpose. After 10 years of military neglect, the Fort was sealed up and left to quietly disintegrate until the 1980’s when local interest was aroused.
In 1997/8 the Fort was structurally consolidated by English Heritage, into whose care it had been placed, and is maintained and opened to the public on their behalf by the Landguard Fort Trust.