Spitbank Fort is one of three Napoleonic forts located at the mouth of the Solent, and is now a luxury island hotel. When contractors Lowe and Oliver were commissioned to establish a reliable standby and prime power solution for this offshore redevelopment, they turned to Shenton Group which provided a solution comprising two generators which utilise recovered heat for the hotel’s heating an hot water supplies.


Spitbank Fort is one of three fortified offshore forts, built by the British to protect the Solent and approaches to Portsmouth Harbour during the Napoleonic wars. A Scheduled Monument since 1967, any work undertaken to the building must be done so sympathetically.

The fact that the fort is offshore poses obvious logistical challenges, as the site can only be reached by boat.

As mains power supplies do not reach the property, mechanical electrical contractors Lowe and Oliver were given the task of finding a reliable continuous power supply to ensure residents enjoyed, not only continuous power supplies, but hot water and heating too.


Responsible for the installation of all mechanical services within the hotel, Lowe and Oliver put the power supply solution to tender. Succeeding despite fierce competition, Shenton Group was chosen for its competitive pricing, creative design and ability to engage with the client’s design process.

Following a £3 million conversion, Spitbank Forts features eight luxury double bedroom suites, all with ensuite facilities and one further luxury bedroom with ensuite in the Crow’s Nest. In addition, there are three private dining rooms, three bars, a function suite, wine cellar, rooftop hot tub, and sun decks and sauna. As the fort has no mains electricity, gas, sewage or fresh water, Lowe & Oliver needed to provide complete mechanical and electrical installation for the luxury hotel, including the supply of primary power generators and associated fuel storage systems which were provided by Shenton Group.

Shenton Group has supplied two generators for the provision of standby and prime power for the island. Detailing Shenton Group’s bespoke solution, Shenton Group Technical Director, Derek Barry explains: “Because one of Lowe & Oliver’s responsibilities was to provide, not only electricity supplies, but hot water supplies too, the generators have been equipped so that they can provide heat recovery from the water jackets which have been integrated with the building’s heating systems”. The resulting installation provides Spitbank Fort with an energy-efficiency solution by utilising what would otherwise be wasted engine heat. Installed in a basement plant room, Shenton Group had to overcome a number of challenges, in particular the management of cooling air for the generators.

Derek Barry summarised the project: “This was a unique and unusual project Shenton Group. It involved working closely with Lowe & Oliver and their specific challenges of dealing with historic buildings, as well as the inevitable logistics problems of getting engineers and equipment to site. Our ability to engage with the client’s design process was pivotal to the success of the job”.


Visitors to Spitbank Fort enjoy a luxury, boutique hotel environment, set at the opening of the Solent. The entire hotel complex benefits from continuous power supplies, with hot water and heating supplied from the heat generated by two permanent generators.

About Shenton Group

Shenton Group is the UK’s leading technical expert in standby power, uninterruptible power supplies, and combined heat and power supplies. The company provides power solutions to organisations spanning a broad array of industries that rely on continuous power supplies and includes; finance, telecoms, healthcare, IT, manufacturing, education, government, military, utilities, retail, and sport and leisure.

Shenton Group’s standby generator range includes single and three phase generator solutions, ranging from 10kVA to 3.2MVA. Being British built to the highest quality and safety standards, Shenton Group generators are ideal for use as prime power or standby power supply usage. All Shenton Group diesel generators include; a full range of weatherproof canopies to meet sound attenuation levels; proven industry-leading control systems and switchgear hardware; integral bunded base-frame fuel tanks and fuel management systems; containerised modular solutions; custom built drop-over acoustic canopies; and skid-mounted ‘open’ sets for specific applications.

About Spitbank Fort

Spitbank Fort is one of three Napoleonic forts that dominate the Solent. Authorised for construction in 1859 and completed in 1878, the forts were built to protect the approaches to Portsmouth from an invasion by the French. Acquired by Clarenco Group, a group of companies created and directed by multi-award winning entrepreneur, Mike Clare, best known as the Founder and President of Dreams plc, Spitbank Fort is now part of Clarenco’s Amazing Retreats, a unique collection of iconic venues.

About Lowe & Oliver

Bestowed with a Royal Warrant, Lowe & Oliver has been trading for over 90 years and combines up-to-the-minute skills with traditional service values. The company provides a comprehensive portfolio of electrical and mechanical services and brings the same care and attention to every project it works on.

Subscribe to our mailing list

    I accept that Shenton Group will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch and to provide updates and marketing