There are several historical forts to see in Bermuda and one of them that you should visit is Alexandra Battery. Situated at the north east edge of Bermuda in St. George’s Parish, Alexandra Battery and Fort was first built around 1860.
When Alexandra Battery was built, it replaced an existing fort known as Buildings Bay Battery, of which very little is now known.
It is named after Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Alexandra was the daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark. When she was 17, she married a young Englishman called Edward, who just happened to be the son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert!
This young man would go on to become Edward VII, King of Great Britain and Emperor of India. The royal marriage took place in 1863 and Alexandra Battery in Bermuda was built a few years later and named in her honour.
Without digressing too much away from the fort, it’s interesting to note that Alexandra’s full official title was “Queen Consort of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions; Empress Consort of India”.
The difference between a ‘queen consort’ and having the title of just ‘queen’ is one of ascent and heir to the throne. A queen consort, historically, is the wife of the heir to the throne and therefore has married in to the position of the king’s wife. Usually, they have power in title only and queens consort do not share the king’s political and military powers. When the heir to the throne is female and becomes queen in her own right regardless of marriage, she is known as a ‘queen regnant’ and have full monarchical powers, such as Queen Elizabeth II has today. Most queens in history were queens consort and many of them chose to keep their title of princess for many matters like Alexandra did.
Alexandra Fort is situated in the geographically-strategic, fort-heavy part of Bermuda and is less than a mile away from the St. Catherine’s Fort as well as the Gates Fort.
During Alexandra’s reign, the fort was given a full modernisation including the installation of two 6-inch guns known as rifle breech loaders to protect the coastline of Bermuda from unwelcome visitors. Rifle breech loaders are loaded from the back or rear of the gun, leaving the personnel less exposed than side or front loaders and allow guns to be fitted in smaller turrets as well as allowing them to be loaded faster – a massive advantage over other guns and a necessity during conflict.
The guns at Fort Alexandra also had shields, known as Gibraltar Shields or flash plates, which were large sheets of metal that protected gunners from incoming fire. There is still one such specimen on site for visitors to see.
The fort was manned full-time during the first and second world wars, yet the guns never had to be used during any conflict.
As well as visiting the Fort for its amazing cultural and historical attractions, tourists also get breath-taking ocean views and can marvel at the beach just under their feet – one of Bermuda’s plentiful but world-rare sea glass beaches.
Alexandra Battery in Bermuda
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Alexandra Battery in Bermuda – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles’ Things To Do in Bermuda series!