THE iconic Coalhouse Fort in East Tilbury will get a £1million boost.

The historic 19th century building will get a new cafe, revamped toilet and information block plus an improved base for the park’s rangers.

Access within the fort will be improved, fencing, paving, and minor works will be done to one of the gun towers - and an education officer will be employed to take parties on a tour of the fort.

Lynn Worrall, the councillor responsible for communities, said: “This money will turn Coalhouse from a fascinating, but little known, jewel in Thurrock’s crown to a Mecca for history buffs across the world.”

The move comes after Thurrock Council successfully secured a £790,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

This will be added to the £110,000 being offered by the Veolia North Thames Trust, along with further funds being stumped up by the council.

Coalhouse Fort was built between 1861 and 1874 - at the cost of about £130,000 - to defend the Thames from a potentital invasion by France.

It was closed following the abolition of Coastal Defence in 1956, but today it’s beautiful grounds are ideal for strolling round.

In 2005, the fort played the part of a Bhutenese prison in Hollywood hit Batman Begins.

Councillor Cathy Kent, the council’s representative on the Coalhouse Fort Project, added: “This is tremendous news for the fort, the local community and Thurrock as a whole.”