SMOKE AND THUNDER - Thursday, 9 May 2013

Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson will ring to the power and might of the big guns on Friday, May 17, as part of the Culture 24 national event – Museums at Night.

The themed event will showcase guns from Royal Armouries’ national collection of artillery, featuring Victorian and Second World War weapons.

A main highlight of the evening will be special firings of the 32-pounder Victorian gun, by Portsdown Artillery Volunteers, from its position on the north Caponier – as featured on the BBC’s Great British Railway Journeys’ series when Michael Portillo visited the Fort

Visitors will feel the ground shake as the gun’s immense power is released in an explosion of sound and smoke.

There’s also a chance to witness the agility of the Second World War Sexton field gun, fired by Ubique Right of the Line, as its roars around the Fort’s Parade Ground – bringing this out-of-hours’ event to a climactic close.

Other features include presentations in the museum’s galleries, and the chance to explore the 19th century Fort’s re-created hospital, barrack room and tunnels.

Fort operations manager Nigel Hosier said, “The event is designed to appeal to all ages, particularly family groups as well as those interested in artillery. The title, Smoke and Thunder, is designed to evoke the noise and power of the big guns, in this historic setting.”

Admission is from 6pm, priced at £3.50 for adults; £2.50 for concessions (senior citizens and children aged 5 to 15). A family ticket (two adults and up to three children) is priced £11.

Tunnel gun firings have limited numbers – please arrive early to avoid disappointment. The event ends at 9pm.

Standing high on Portsdown Hill near Fareham, Fort Nelson showcases one of the world’s finest collections of artillery and cannon, from across the ages and from all corners of the globe.

In 2011, this unique heritage attraction underwent a £3.5m redevelopment to create a museum for the 21st century, supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, complete with new galleries, state-of-the-art education centre and visitor facilities.

There’s also a 19-acre site to explore, complete with underground tunnels – and the Café 1871 is open every day.

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Notes to editors

To find Fort Nelson, follow the brown Tourist signs from the M27. The Fort is open seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm.

Download the PDF press release.