Fort Pitt began as a military hospital in 1803, but two years later it was fortified by the addition of corner bastions and ramparts to allow it to give added protection to the Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham. Its position on a prominent hill on the boundary between Chatham and Rochester gave it a strategic significance, for this was during the Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815) when the danger of a French invasion was paramount. Its arsenal was formidable and comprised ten 18-pound cannons, 22 18-pound carronades and four 10-pound mortars.
Its days of glory were short-lived however, and in 1828 its primary role changed to being a hospital for invalided soldiers. An asylum was later added and in 1860 it became the home of Florence Nightingale’s first Army Medical School, building on her work in the Crimean War in the previous decade.
The hospital closed in 1919 and the fort was partly demolished in the early 1930s to allow a Technical School for Girls to be built. The sally-port and underground magazines however survived and were adapted to become air raid shelters for the school in the Second World War.
The tunnels were briefly opened for a survey by the Kent Underground Research Group with the permission of the landowners and then resealed
For further information on the fort refer to Pastscape.