The British Home Ports had developed since the founding of the Royal Navy under the rule of Henry VIII (1509 to 1547) but it was not until the Acts of Union in 1707 that it started to emerge as a coherent force. Prior to that it had a poor record, particularly against a much more proficient Dutch Fleet. During the remainder of the 18th Century the Navy was steadily developed, seeing almost continuous action against various foes including the French, Dutch and Spanish.
From 1815 to about 1850 little changed, but the Industrial Revolution saw a rapid advance in technology, from steam powered ships to rifled guns. In a few decades, the Royal Navy had progressed from sail powered ships of the line to coal-fired triple-expansion steam engines. Initially iron clad ships replaced the old wooden hulls, but by the 1870s pre-dreadnoughts with hardened steel armour and heavy guns in rotating turrets were coming into use. These new warships required a similar upgrade in coastal defences, seeing the old smooth bore guns, first replaced by Rifled Muzzle Loaders, then breech loaders. By 1900 the British already used the 9.2-inch and 6-inch guns (with upgrades) that were to remain active until 1956 when the Coastal Artillery were disbanded.