Fort Needham

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Fort Needham (1776-1815) - A British colonial Fort established in 1776 during the Revolutionary War by Captain William Spry in present day Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Initially named Pedley's Hill Redoubt after landowner James Pedley renamed Fort Needham in 1778.

Fort Needham Memorial Park Sign.
Fort Needham Memorial Park Panel.
Halifax Explosion Memorial Bell Tower in Fort Needham Memorial Park.

History of Fort Needham

Part of the Harbor Defense of Halifax.

Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

Established by Captain William Spry in 1776 for defense of the naval yard at Halifax against a possible American attack.

"Fort Needham was a a small pentagonal earthen redoubt consisting of a 100' gorge with 75' flanks (exterior measurements), and with a salient directed southwest where the ground was quite steep; it mounted two guns on the north west face and two on the south flank. The entrance was by a wooden bridge over the ditch at the center of the gorge or rear side. Within the redoubt were two small barracks to accomodate about 50 men."
Halifax from Fort Needham circa 1780, Fort Needham in the Foreground, Fort George in the Far Background.

War of 1812 (1812-1815)

In the run-up to the War of 1812, Halifax was again armed against possible invasion from the Americans. Fort Needham was rebuilt on the ruins of the original fort in the winter of 1807 and spring of 1808. The new fort was a bit larger with 70' parapets, 75' on the flanks and 110' on the gorge. The fort was armed with four 12-pounders on traversing carriages. Barracks were provided for about sixty men.

A blockhouse was built in 1808 in advance of Fort Needham to secure the approaches to the battery. On the blockhouse were mounted two English 12-pounder Carronades. There were forty rounds of ammunition prepared for each cannon and stored in a hand magazine within the blockhouse. The blockhouse was destroyed by 1820.

The fort was decommissioned after the War of 1812 circa 1815 and the buildings were abandoned. The last of the standing buildings blew down in a windstorm in 1825.

World War I (1914-1918)

The site of the Fort Needham ruins was impacted on 6 Dec 1917 in the "Halifax Explosion". The SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, exploded in Halifax Harbor killing some two thousand townspeople and injuring nine thousand more. The town was devastated by that explosion and the Fort Needham site overlooked pier 6 where the explosion took place.

Current Status

Now Needham Memorial Park. Site of Halifax Explosion Memorial Bell Tower in Fort Needham Memorial Park. The remains of the earthen redoubt were destroyed when the area was bulldozed to build recreation fields.

Location: Needham Memorial Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Maps & Images

Lat: 44.66472 Long: -63.60028

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 229'

See Also:



Visited: 24 Jun 2013

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