Celebrating Britain's Glorious Past! - Thursday, 3 September 2009
Take a fascinating look behind the scenes at historic Fort Nelson on 12th and 13th September as part of the National Heritage Open Days weekend.
Enjoy guided tours of Fort areas not normally open to the public and witness the power and might of gun firings by uniformed soldiers of the Portsdown Artillery Volunteers.
Heritage Weekend highlights include special tours of the original Victorian officers’ mess and anteroom, as well as the usually closed west tunnel. A further attraction will be a gallery tour by the Fort Nelson curatorial team, providing a fascinating insight into some of the highlights of the Royal Armouries collection of historic cannon.
Organised by the Royal Armouries – Britain’s oldest museum – the event is absolutely free and suitable for all the family.
Built in the 1860s, Fort Nelson houses the national collection of historic cannon and big guns. The museum has one of the world’s finest collections, with over 350 cannon dating back over 600 years. The collection originated from HM Tower of London and has been on display in Hampshire since 1995.
Fort Nelson is one of the famous Palmerston Forts, built by the Prime Minister of that name during the mid Victorian period, in response to a feared invasion by France.
Locals often joke the Fort’s builders were looking at the architect’s plans the wrong way round, as the fort’s defences faced inland – and not towards Portsmouth Harbour! In fact, the Fort was built to protect the area from landward attack and the huge and imposing structure is “hidden” if approached from the north. The theory was that invaders would be effectively ambushed by unforeseen gunfire as they approached the north side of Portsdown Hill.
In fact, Fort Nelson had to wait 80 years before it saw enemy attack – and then it was by aerial bombardment during Hitler’s blitz on Portsmouth, when Fort Nelson served as a key part of the South’s anti-aircraft defences.
Open throughout the year, the museum has a whole range of attractions, designed to appeal to young and old alike, including secret underground tunnels and chambers to explore.
The Fort’s Powderkeg Café is open seven days a week offering a range of snacks and refreshments.
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Notes to editors
- The Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson houses the national collection of historic cannon and big guns. The museum houses one of the world’s finest collections with over 350 cannon dating back over 600 years. The collection originated at HM Tower of London and has been on display in Hampshire since 1995.
- The Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson also tells the story of the Palmerston Forts, built to protect Portsmouth from a feared French invasion in the 1860’s.
- Every day, visitors can see one of the big guns fired in salute, watch our resident actors bring to life characters from 1,000 years of history, explore secret underground tunnels and enjoy incredible views from the ramparts. An extensive programme of special event spectaculars takes place throughout the year.
- Fort Nelson is open every day except 24-26 December. April to October 10am –5pm (Wed 11am-5pm), November – March 10.30am – 4pm (Wed 11.30-4pm).
- Admission to the Royal Armouries is FREE.
- Admission charges apply to some events.
- Information line: 01329 233734
- Website: www.royalarmouries.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Royal Armouries is the national museum of arms and armour with sites at Fort Nelson, Leeds, HM Tower of London and Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
- The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business.