Portchester Castle, Portchester, England


Portchester Castle, Saxon tower and wall
1910s
Publisher: A.H.S, Southsea (possibly A.H.Sweasey)

Google Street View.

Wikipedia.

Saxon Shore forts were heavily defended later Roman military installations located exclusively in south east England. They were all constructed during the third century AD, probably between c.AD 225 and AD 285. They were built to provide protection against the sea-borne Saxon raiders who began to threaten the coast towards the end of the second century AD, and all Saxon Shore forts are situated on or very close to river estuaries or on the coast, between the Wash and the Isle of Wight. Saxon Shore forts are also found on the coasts of France and Belgium. The most distinctive feature of Saxon Shore forts are their defences which comprised massive stone walls, normally backed by an inner earth mound, and wholly or partially surrounded by one or two ditches.
Historic England

Portchester Castle was begun as a Roman fort, one of the series of coastal forts now known as the Forts of the Saxon Shore. These forts were built over the course of the 3rd century, to meet the threat presented by Saxon pirates who were then raiding the south coast of Roman Britain.

The walls of the Roman fort seem to have housed a community for most of the long period between the end of Roman rule and the Norman conquest of 1066. Evidence of four huts with sunken floors, a well, and signs of ploughing, datable to the 5th century, has been found. In the 7th to 9th centuries a number of timber houses and ancillary buildings were built, perhaps forming two residences. Around the end of the 9th century there seems to have been a break in occupation, with extensive dumping of rubbish over the sites of earlier buildings. In 904 the Bishop of Winchester gave the fort to the English king Edward the Elder (reigned 899–924). Following this, the fort became a burh – one of a series of fortified places which protected the kingdom from Viking attack.
English Heritage

Following the Norman Conquest, Portchester was granted to William Maudit and it was probably he who raised the castle. The Roman Walls were utilised to form the perimeter around the Outer Bailey whilst a moat and timber barrier were used to separate the north-west corner of the fort which then became the Inner Ward. When William died in 1100 the castle passed to his son, Robert Maudit, but he was killed in the White Ship disaster in 1120. Thereafter the castle passed through marriage to William Pont de l’Arche. William commenced rebuilding the Inner Ward defences of Portchester Castle in stone including raising the Great Tower during the 1120s and 1130s. William also built St Mary’s church to serve an Augustinian Priory he founded within the walls although by 1150 this community had relocated to Southwick.
Castles Forts Battles

Hastings Castle, Hastings


Hastings | The Castle
c.1910
Publisher: J. Davis, 24 Queen Victoria St, E.C.

Google Street View (approximate).

Hastings Castle is a keep and bailey castle ruin situated in the town of Hastings, East Sussex. It overlooks the English Channel, into which large parts of the castle have fallen over the years. Immediately after landing in England in 1066, William of Normandy ordered three fortifications to be built, Pevensey Castle in September 1066 (re-using the Roman Saxon Shore fort of Anderitum), Hastings (prior to the Battle of Hastings) and Dover. Hastings Castle was originally built as a motte-and-bailey castle near the sea. Later that year, the famous Battle of Hastings took place some miles to the north of Hastings Castle, in which William was victorious. In 1070, William issued orders for the castle to be rebuilt in stone, along with the St Mary’s Chapel.

In 1287, violent storms battered the south coast for many months and the soft sandstone cliffs eventually succumbed to the elements. Large sections of the face fell into the sea along with parts of the castle. In both 1339 and 1377, the town was attacked by the French leaving many burnt buildings which included homes. Throughout the next century erosion was unchecked and gradually more of the castle was lost to the sea. The mid 16th century saw the castle receive another blow as Henry VIII commissione

The site was purchased by Thomas Pelham on 23 June 1591. After the purchase, the site was purchased by the Pelham family and used for farming until the ruins had become so overgrown they were lost from memory. In 1824, the then owner the Earl of Chichester commissioned some archaeological investigations of the ruin. As a result of these, the chapel floor and parts of the chancel arch and walls were re-constructed out of blocks found lying on the ground.


Motte under construction Wikimedia Commons

Following the death of King Edward the Confessor in 1066, the English throne was claimed by William, Duke of Normandy. However, the English chose Harold Godwineson as Edward’s successor and accordingly William raised an invasion army. It eventually sailed from Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and landed near Pevensey on 28 September 1066. King Harold however was in the north, where just days earlier he had defeated another rival at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. This gave William time and he used it to build castles to protect his beachhead. Hastings was one of them (the others were Pevensey and Dover). All three were adjacent to important harbours and, in the case of Hastings, the site of a Saxon burh (fortified town).

Hastings Castle is one of the few Norman structures that can be dated with certainty. Not only is there is a picture on the Bayeux Tapestry, its narrative states William the Conqueror “commands that a castle be dug at Hestengaceastra”. The castle is also mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Domesday Book (1086). Finally the Chronicle of Battle Abbey stated William I built a “wooden castle” at Hastings. Together these sources strongly suggest the castle was started before the Battle of Hastings (which wasn’t fought until 14 October 1066) using wooden prefabricated parts imported from Normandy. William was probably accommodated within its walls prior to the battle and in the immediate aftermath it would have been crucial as a secure logistical hub ensuring his sustainability in the south east.

The original castle consisted of a motte, which would have been topped by a timber palisade and tower, with a large broadly rectangular bailey to the west. An outer bailey, probably used for livestock, was located to the east. The castle was built on top of a cliff overlooking the Saxon settlement, markedly different from elsewhere which saw Norman castles stamped on top of former urban settlements (good examples can be seen at Exeter, Totnes and Wallingford).
Castles Forts Battles

Stonehenge, England


Stonehenge – View looking E.
c. 1920?
H.M. Office of Works
“Photogravure by the Rembrandt Intaglio Printing Co, London”

Google Street View.

Skyscape: virtual Tour throughout the day
Stonehenge: To-Day and Yesterday (1916)

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, each around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, seven feet (2.1 m) wide, and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred tumuli (burial mounds). Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC.
Wikipedia.

In about 2500 BC the stones were set up in the centre of the monument. Two types of stone are used at Stonehenge – the larger sarsens and the smaller ‘bluestones’. The sarsens were erected in two concentric arrangements – an inner horseshoe and an outer circle – and the bluestones were set up between them in a double arc. . . . From the middle Bronze Age, less communal effort went into the construction of ceremonial monuments such as Stonehenge and more on activities such as the creation of fields. . . .The earliest surviving written references to Stonehenge date from the medieval period, and from the 14th century onwards there are increasing references to Stonehenge and drawings and paintings of it.
English Heritage

The modern story of restorations at Stonehenge begins in 1880 when the site was surveyed by William Flinders-Petrie, who also established the numbering system for the stones that is in use to this day. The very first documented intervention to prevent stone collapse at Stonehenge happened in 1881 and is described here by Simon Banton. In 1893, the Inspector of Ancient Monuments determined that several stones were in in danger of falling and he was subsequently proved correct when stone 22 collapsed in a New Year’s Eve storm on 31 December 1900. The stone remained intact and was not damaged, but lintel-122 broke into two pieces with such a shock that a fragment was found 81 ft away. They were the first stones to fall since 1797 (after a rapid thaw succeeded a hard frost) and, as the guardian of the site was ill at the time, Sir Edmund Antrobus paid for a police constable to keep sightseers in order.
Silent Earth: Restorations at Stonehenge


“Stonehenge: Stones being repositioned during restoration work (1914)”


Stonehenge – Part of outer circle with Friars Heel
c. 1920?
H.M. Office of Works
“Photogravure by The Vandyck Printers Ltd, Bristol & London”

Chepstow Castle, Chepstow, Wales


In the keep, Chepstow Castle
c.1920

Google Street View (exterior)

Chepstow Castle at Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain. Located above cliffs on the River Wye, construction began in 1067 under the instruction of the Norman Lord William FitzOsbern. Originally known as Striguil, it was the southernmost of a chain of castles built in the Welsh Marches, and with its attached lordship took the name of the adjoining market town in about the 14th century. In the 12th century the castle was used in the conquest of Gwent, the first independent Welsh kingdom to be conquered by the Normans. It was subsequently held by two of the most powerful Anglo-Norman magnates of medieval England, William Marshal and Richard de Clare. However, by the 16th century its military importance had waned and parts of its structure were converted into domestic ranges. Although re-garrisoned during and after the English Civil War, by the 1700s it had fallen into decay.
Wikipedia.

Building was started in 1067 by Earl William fitz Osbern, close friend of William the Conqueror, making it one of the first Norman strongholds in Wales. In turn William Marshal (Earl of Pembroke), Roger Bigod (Earl of Norfolk) and Charles Somerset (Earl of Worcester) all made their mark before the castle declined after the Civil War. These magnates and power-brokers were constantly on the move. Chepstow was just one residence in their vast estates – an impressive shell into which they would bring their gold and silver vessels, rich silk and brightly painted furniture.
Cadw


The store chamber, Chepstow Castle
c.1920

Google Street View

Construction, Panama Canal


Showing lower lock and canal channel to Atlantic, Gatun, Panama Canal.
1910s
Publisher: Isaac L. Maduro, Jr. (1904-1920’s)

Google Street View.

The Gatun Locks, a three-stage flight of locks 1¼ mi (1.9 km) long, lifts ships to the Gatun Lake level, some 87 ft (27 m) above sea level.
Wikipedia.


General View of Miraflores locks, Pedro Miguel locks in the Distance, Panama Canal.
1910s
Publisher: Isaac L. Maduro, Jr. (1904-1920’s)

Google Street View.

Miraflores is the name of one of the three locks that form part of the Panama Canal, and the name of the small lake that separates these locks from the Pedro Miguel Locks upstream. In the Miraflores locks, vessels are lifted (or lowered) 54 feet (16.5 m) in two stages, allowing them to transit to or from the Pacific Ocean port of Balboa in Panama City. Ships cross below the Bridge of the Americas, which connects North and South America.
Wikipedia.

Oil Wells, Summerland, California


Oil wells in the sea, Summerland, near Satan Barbara, Calif
Postmarked 1924
Publisher: Western Publishing & Novelty Co., Los Angeles.

General location.

The Summerland Oil Field (and Summerland Offshore Oil Field) is an inactive oil field in Santa Barbara County, California, about four miles (6 km) east of the city of Santa Barbara, within and next to the unincorporated community of Summerland. First developed in the 1890s, and richly productive in the early 20th century, the Summerland Oil Field was the location of the world’s first offshore oil wells, drilled from piers in 1896. This field, which was the first significant field to be developed in Santa Barbara County, produced 3.18 million of barrels of oil during its 50-year lifespan, finally being abandoned in 1939-40.
Wikipedia

In California, Henry Williams by 1897 had successfully pursued the giant Summerland oilfield to the scenic cliff side beaches of Santa Barbara. With reports of “tar balls” on the beaches from natural offshore oil seeps, Williams recognized that the highly productive field extended into the Pacific Ocean. He and his associates constructed a 300 foot pier, mounted a cable-tool derrick, and began drilling. When California’s first offshore oil well proved successful, more than 20 petroleum companies rushed to Santa Barbara. They constructed 14 more piers, the longest extending 1,230 feet. Over the next five years more than 400 Summerland offshore wells were drilled.
American Oil & Gas Historical Society

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, Ahmedabad, India


Carved Windows, Ahmedabad
c.1910

Google Street View

Early in Ahmedabad’s history, under Ahmed Shah, builders fused Hindu craftsmanship with Persian architecture, giving rise to the Indo-Saracenic style. Many mosques in the city were built in this fashion. Sidi Saiyyed Mosque was built in the last year of the Sultanate of Gujarat. It is entirely arched and has ten stone latticework windows or jali on the side and rear arches.
Wikipedia

This screen was basically made so that the mosque remains fully lighted from inside at all times of the day. The size of this artistic jali is around 16 feet and is in semi circular shape. It is situated at the height of around 20 feet above the ground level. The art work on these jails is so fine that a magnifying glass is required to view its internal intricate design in detail. The design consists of the flowers arrangement in various symmetrical shapes. They are made of smooth white stones and the fine engraving is done with human hands. Sadly, there does not seem to be any information about the actual craftsman who designed the jali. But it took around six years to get each of these jalis completed. Around 45 main artists worked on it, day and night.
The Symbol of Ahmedabad

The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, is a sublime ode in stone to the extraordinary architectural legacy of the African diaspora in India. Although their forefathers were originally brought to India as slaves and maritime laborers, the descendants of these Africans rose to positions of power as military commanders in the armies of the sultans and became great patrons of art and architecture. Called Sidis (or Siddis), an appellation of Africans, or Habshis, from the Arabic-Persian word for “people from Abyssinia or Ethiopia,” one of them was Shaykh Sayyid al-Habshi Sultani, or Sidi Saiyyed, who constructed his eponymous mosque.

Built in 1573, the last year of the Gujarat Sultanate before the Mughals invaded, the mosque is one of the finest specimens of the prodigious architectural accomplishments of the Sidis in India. Situated in the heart of the 600-year-old walled city of Ahmedabad, the design of the mosque is entirely in the arcuate system of construction, involving arches, domes, squinches, and vaults. The mosque is set up like a theatre without a fourth wall, celebrated for the intricately carved filigree work on its jalis (screen windows).
Atlas Obscura

Tomb of Shams ud din Iltutmish, Qutb complex, Delhi


Tomb of Shums-ood-Deen Altumash, Delhi
c.1910

Google Street View

Tomb of Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, Qutab Complex (YouTube)

Shamsuddin Iltutmish was a slave of Qutbuddin Aibak. Due to the good education and wide knowledge of the Islamic world, which he acquired during the early days of his adversity, he quickly rose to be the amir- i- shikar and son in law of his master within a decade. In 1206, he held the charge of Badaun as one of the most trusted lieutenants of Aibak. He was manumitted by Aibak long before the latter received such formal manumission, himself. It was done in 1205- 1206 at the instance of Mohammad Ghori who was deeply impressed by the performance of Iltutmish in the campaign against the Khokhars. Iltutmish was not only a soldier but also a man of creative tastes. Often engaged in warfare and happily extended his patronage to the pious and learned. He was further endowed with laudable qualities; he was handsome, intelligent, sagacious and of excellent disposition and manners. He was also just, benevolent, impartial and a zealous warrior.

The hereditary succession of Aram Shah was refused by the Turkish nobility of Delhi, as he was an incompetent and unpopular ruler. Iltutmish was invited from Badaun to assume the leadership of Sultanate. Aram Shah refused to abdicate but was defeated and deposed by Iltutmish in 1211. Iltutmish was the real founder of the Delhi Sultanate. He made Delhi his seat of governance in preference to Lahore and proved to be a strong and capable ruler who enjoyed a long reign of twenty- six years.
HistoryPak.com

The Qutb complex are monuments and buildings from the Delhi Sultanate at Mehrauli in Delhi in India. Construction of the Qutub Minar “victory tower” in the complex, named after the religious figure Sufi Saint Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, was begun by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, who later became the first Sultan of Delhi of the Mamluk dynasty (Gulam Vansh). It was continued by his successor Iltutmish (a.k.a. Altamash), and finally completed much later by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, a Sultan of Delhi from the Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1412) in 1368 AD.

The tomb of the Delhi Sultanate ruler, Iltutmish, a second Sultan of Delhi (r. 1211–1236 AD), built 1235 CE, is also part of the Qutb Minar Complex in Mehrauli, New Delhi. The central chamber is a 9 mt. sq. and has squinches, suggesting the existence of a dome, which has since collapsed. The main cenotaph, in white marble, is placed on a raised platform in the centre of the chamber. The facade is known for its ornate carving, both at the entrance and the interior walls. The interior west wall has a prayer niche (mihrab) decorated with marble, and a rich amalgamation of Hindu motifs into Islamic architecture, such as bell-and-chain, tassel, lotus, diamond emblems. In 1914, during excavations by Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Gordon Sanderson, the grave chamber was discovered. From the north of the tomb 20 steps lead down to the actual burial vault.
Wikipedia

The Mausoleum of Shams al-Din Iltutmish (reg. 1211-1236), is located in the northwest corner of the Qutb complex next to Iltutmish’s own extensions to the Qutb Mosque.
The sandstone structure is square, measuring 9.1 meters along each side, with a height of 8.41 m to the base of the (conjectured) dome. It was constructed of new material, not making use of the spolia used in other buildings in the Qutb complex. It has three entrances, on the north, east, and south elevations. The western wall, facing Mecca, houses the mihrab as the central niche of three. The upper chamber, now open to the sky, contains the richly decorated marble cenotaph. Steps on the northern side leading down to the burial chamber below.

ArchNet

Dar Hassan Pacha/Winter Palace, Algiers, Algeria


ALGER.-Palais d’hiver. — Galerie Mauresque
c.1910

Google Maps (no street view).

Dar Hassan Pacha is an 18th-century palace located in the Casbah of Algiers, Algeria. It was built in 1791 and used to belong to Hassan III Pasha, who signed a treaty with the US September 5, 1795. After 1830, it became the winter residence of the Governor of Algiers, and as a consequence, it was completely remodelled in 1839, when the entrance has been changed and a new facade was created.
Wikipedia.

Hassan Pacha was the ruler of Algiers and a man with a sense of purpose – in 1795 he concluded a peace treaty with the fledgling USA guaranteeing their ships safe passage in Algiers’ waters. Before that, around 1791, he began work building his palace on the edge of the Casbah, but away from the waterside, which was vulnerable and damp in winter. When Algiers fell to the French the house was turned into the governor’s winter residence. Its facade was remodelled, and unlike most large houses here the Dar Hassan Pacha was given a European-style front, with rows of large windows and balconies and a grander entrance.
Lonely Planet

ArchNet

Moorish Castle, Gibraltar


Gibraltar Moorish Castle
Publisher: J. Ferrary & Co, Gibraltar

The fortifications on and around the site of the Moorish Castle were first built in 1160, or earlier. These were, however, destroyed when the Spanish re-conquered Gibraltar from 1309-1333. The Tower of Homage, its main feature, dominates the hillside and the landward approach to Gibraltar. A rebuilt tower dates primarily from about 1333 AD when Abu’l Hassan recaptured Gibraltar from the Spanish. On another occasion, the Count of Niebla attacked the castle, was captured by the Medieval defenders and his body was suspended from the walls in a barcina, a net for carrying straw.

The Tower of Homage proudly displays the battle scars inflicted during the various sieges. Here a Spanish governor held out for five months against the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who took Gibraltar from his own sovereign, Queen Isabel of Spain. In 1540, hundreds of people found safety inside the castle when Turkish pirates ransacked Gibraltar. The lower castle formerly stretched all the way down to Casemates Square, the Grand Battery area and the Old Mole. It is interesting to note that the courtyard of the Moorish Castle served as a prison up until 2010.
HM Government of Gibraltar

The Moorish Castle is the name given to a medieval fortification in Gibraltar comprising various buildings, gates, and fortified walls, with the dominant features being the Tower of Homage and the Gate House. Part of the castle itself also housed the prison of Gibraltar until it was relocated in 2010. The Tower of Homage is clearly visible to all visitors to Gibraltar; not only because of its striking construction, but also because of its dominant and strategic position. Although sometimes compared to the nearby alcazars in Spain, the Moorish Castle in Gibraltar was constructed by the Marinid dynasty, making it unique in the Iberian Peninsula
Wikipedia

Gibraltar’s Tower of Homage may not be the most elegant Moorish Castle in Iberia but it is probably the largest. In fact it is so big and imposing that one would have imagined it would be easy to trace its origins and find out exactly who was responsible for having built the thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. At the time of writing and despite much research into obscure Arabic documents and tentative archaeological investigations we still really haven’t a clue.
The following therefore covers my own very limited research into this conundrum. It is based entirely on whatever documents I have been able to uncover. But to start at the probable beginning.
The People of Gibraltar

A stroll around Gibraltar No. 18 : Moorish Castle (internal photos)


Gibraltar Old Moorish Castle
1900s
Publisher: V.B. Cumbo, Gibraltar (1905-1911)