Bull Sand Fort in the Humber Estuary sells for £490,000

Bull Sand Fort in the Humber Estuary sells for £490,000 2
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Someone must be keen to get away from it all! Wartime sea fort 1.5 miles offshore with no neighbours, 12in armour and room for heavy guns sells for nearly £500,000 – 10 times its pre-sale guide price

  • The Bull Sand sea fort in the Humber Estuary has just sold at auction for £490,000 – almost 10 time the guide 
  • Work on the Grade II listed structure started in May 1915 but was not completed until December 1919
  • The fort was recommissioned during the Second World War and was under constant Luftwaffe bombardment 
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A wartime sea fort 1.5 miles offshore in the Humber Estuary has sold at auction for an astonishing £490,000 – nearly ten times the pre-sale guide price of £50,000.

The unnamed buyer – who bought the hulking lump of concrete unseen – will have no neighbours, just cargo ships passing by, but Bull Sand Fort has a fascinating history.

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The Grade II-listed structure stands 59ft above the sea and once boasted accommodation for 200 soldiers.

Along with its smaller sister fort, Haile Sands, work started in May 1915, but it wasn’t until December 1919 that they were finished –a year after the war ended.

A wartime sea fort 1.5 miles offshore in the Humber Estuary has sold at auction for an astonishing £490,000 – nearly ten times the pre-sale guide price of £50,000

A wartime sea fort 1.5 miles offshore in the Humber Estuary has sold at auction for an astonishing £490,000 – nearly ten times the pre-sale guide price of £50,000 

The unnamed buyer – who bought the hulking lump of concrete unseen – will have no neighbours, just cargo ships passing by, but Bull Sand Fort has a fascinating history

The unnamed buyer – who bought the hulking lump of concrete unseen – will have no neighbours, just cargo ships passing by, but Bull Sand Fort has a fascinating history

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Both buildings were reactivated and modernised during the second world war, with heavy guns installed and steel netting was submerged and strung between the two to prevent enemy submarines entering the estuary to attack Hull or Grimsby.

Bull Sand was armed with two 6 inch guns and two 6-pounder guns. It had sufficient accommodation for a garrison of 200 men.

But both Bull Sand and Haile Sand forts were regularly attacked by the Luftwaffe as they flew bombing raids on Grimsby, Hull and Immingham ports.

The structure has 12in thick armour on its seaward side, built to withstand a direct hit from Naval guns, and construction was extremely difficult as its sandbank is 11ft (3.4 m) below low water.

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The fort includes three floors with a basement and magazine below sea level, and a central two-storey observation tower.

A fresh water supply is available at the fort via an artesian well. Outside there is a balcony and jetty.

At one stage it was destined to become the ultimate de-tox facility for recovering drug addicts, after being bought by the Streetwise Charitable Trust in 1997.

Named the ‘Island of Hope’, patients would have spent 30 days aboard the fort as they battled their addictions, but the project never materialised and the trust is now defunct.

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Auctioneer Steve Morish of Savills told MailOnline that he had never set foot on the fort – and neither had the mystery buyer.

The Grade II-listed structure stands 59ft above the sea and once boasted accommodation for 200 soldiers

The Grade II-listed structure stands 59ft above the sea and once boasted accommodation for 200 soldiers 

The structure has 12in thick armour on its seaward side, built to withstand a direct hit from Naval guns, and construction was extremely difficult as its sandbank is 11ft (3.4 m) below low water

The structure has 12in thick armour on its seaward side, built to withstand a direct hit from Naval guns, and construction was extremely difficult as its sandbank is 11ft (3.4 m) below low water 

He said the fort would require a buyer with ‘imagination and a project in mind,’ but planning permission would also be needed because of the fort’s listed building status.

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Suggestions for its future use have included a luxury hotel, restaurant, Airbnb, a residence along Grand Designs lines or a tourist attraction.

Dr Robb Robinson, honorary research fellow at the Blaydes Maritime Centre at the University of Hull, told the BBC that the forts were a reminder of a ‘long ago age of maritime conflict, built when Britain’s east coast was on the maritime frontline’.

Dr Robinson said in late 1914, Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby had been attacked by the German fleet.

‘The Humber was exposed so the idea was to provide more defences,’ he said.

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Suggestions for its future use have included a luxury hotel, restaurant, Airbnb, a residence along Grand Designs lines or a tourist attraction

Suggestions for its future use have included a luxury hotel, restaurant, Airbnb, a residence along Grand Designs lines or a tourist attraction 

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