Harding’s Battery Observation Post
Harding’s Battery is a restored artillery battery in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. It is located at Europa Point and includes the Europa Sunken Magazine that is now used as a visitor centre.
This battery is on Europa Point at the southern end of Gibraltar. Europa had been the site of earlier Spanish and Moorish fortifications as well as those constructed by the British which included walls, scarping and the batteries. Europa Advance Batteries, Europa Pass Batteries, Europa Batteries, Eliott’s Battery, Europa Advance Battery, Half Way Battery, Lighthouse Battery, Lady Louisa’s Battery and Woodford’s Battery were supported by a local barracks.
Harding’s battery was built on the remains of the 7th Europa Battery in 1859. The battery was named after Sir George Harding, who was Chief Engineer in 1844 and had been involved with Sir Charles Holloway in the 1810 destruction of the Spanish fortifications including Fort St. Felipe and Fort St. Barbara. At that time Europa Point was known as Harding’s Point. For a few years the battery had two 18 pounder guns but these were replaced in 1863 with two 32 pounders.
Five years later Harding’s was given a Rifled Muzzle Loading gun as part of the recommendations put forward by Colonel William Jervois who was inspecting and advised on the defences of British colonies including Gibraltar and the Andaman Islands from 1865. Jervois’s 1868 recommendations took time and the approval was not given until 1876 by which time the 9 inch gun had become a larger 12.5 inch 38 ton RML gun which could fire 800 pound projectiles. This gun was commissioned in 1878 although it was feared that the gun may be difficult to defend in its exposed position. In 1904, a plan was put forward to move a 9.2-inch Mk 1 coastal defence gun from Inchkeith in Scotland to Harding’s Battery, but it was never implemented. The large RML was eventually removed and from the start of World War II this battery was the location of a Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft gun.