Marking the Battle of Trafalgar - Thursday, 10 October 2013
Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson marks Lord Nelson’s famous victory at the Battle of Trafalgar next Sunday (October 20) with the firing of a 208-year-old gun.
A uniformed gun crew will fire the restored 12-pounder gun at Fort Nelson, near Fareham, at 12 noon, 1pm, and 3pm to mark Trafalgar Day, which actually falls on the following day (October 21). Parking and museum admission are free.
Fort Nelson – home to the national collection of artillery – will ring to the sound of the original 1805-dated muzzle-loading, sea service cannon, used commonly on Royal Naval ships at Trafalgar, including HMS Victory.
Royal Armouries’ Keeper of Artillery Nicholas Hall said, “The crew from the re-enactment group, Ubique Right of the Line, will wear uniform dating to the period and the gun firings promise to be quite a spectacle.
“Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory carried 104 guns, 30 of which were 12 pounders like this one. This was restored to firing condition here at Fort Nelson and painted in the colours of the Victory. It was then mounted on a replica carriage to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 2005.
“The restoration was covered on BBC TV and it was first fired at Portsmouth’s International Festival of the Sea that same year.”
Sunday’s programme – running from 11.30am to 3.30pm – will also include a series of themed events, designed to bring history to life. Other highlights include:
- Costumed performances by local re-enactment groups Ubique and HMS Loire.
- An appearance by 16 festival players, dressed in traditional Napoleonic Naval costumes. They will perform traditional sea shanties in the Fort’s Voice of the Guns Gallery, including Molly Malone and “What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor?”
Horatio, Lord Nelson, has held a special place in local people’s hearts for over 200 years and his monument stands proudly on Portsdown Hill, next to the Royal Armouries Museum at Fort Nelson. The monument was paid for by the men of the fleet who fought at Trafalgar and from prize money.
On Trafalgar Day itself (Monday, October 21), a service will be held at the monument at 10.45am, led by a Naval Chaplain and organised by HMS Collingwood and the Nelson Society, including wreath laying.
As well as Trafalgar-themed activities on the Sunday, visitors can explore the 19-acre Victorian fort and see the new galleries and visitor centre, including the Voice of the Guns Gallery – showcasing 14 of the Royal Armouries’ most famous exhibits, including two sections of the Iraqi Supergun and the Turkish Bombard, dating to 1464.
Background – Standing high on Portsdown Hill near Fareham, Fort Nelson showcases one of the world’s finest collections of artillery, down the ages and from across 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.
For more information and the latest news about Fort Nelson and the Royal Armouries:
Notes to editors
- Royal Armouries is the national museum of arms and armour and has sites in Leeds, HM Tower of London, Fort Nelson and Louisville, Kentucky. It is the first British national museum to open a permanent presence in another country
- Admission to the museum is free. However, there may be a small charge for some special events.
- Open all year daily, 10am-5pm. Closed 24-25 December
- Information Line: 0113 220 1999
- Website: www.royalarmouries.org
- The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business.
To find Fort Nelson, follow the brown Tourist signs from the M27. The Fort is open seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm.