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Palmerston Forts Society

The Palmerston Forts Society (PFS) was formed in 1984 and brings together enthusiasts who have an active interest in nineteenth century military fortifications and associated artillery worldwide. The particular focus of the society is the fortifications across the UK and abroad that were initiated by Prime Minister Lord Palmerston as a result of invasion scares in the 1850’s. The resulting extensive fortifications programme included the ring of forts that protected Portsmouth - Fort Nelson is one of these forts. 

From its inception the PFS have been actively associated with Fort Nelson. Volunteers made a big contribution to the restoration of the fort, researching its rich history and providing guided tours when Fort Nelson was first opened to the public. This support has continued ever since.

Today, the Palmerston Forts Society works closely with Royal Armouries Fort Nelson from its base at the fort. The society is a membership organisation and registered charity. Its charitable objectives are the advancement of the education of the public in the history of Fort Nelson and other Victorian Fortifications through research, maintaining an extensive archive, supporting the restoration and development of fortifications and the creation of journals and publications. The society interacts with the wider public through its website, social media and its reenactment activities.

A subset of members of the society form the re-enactment group, The Portsdown Artillery Volunteers (PAV).  The PAV recreate the life and operations of the volunteer artillerymen who trained in peacetime and would have manned the fort in the event of a risk of invasion.  The PAV routinely muster in full uniform at Fort Nelson to interact with visitors and explain the history of the fort and the role of the volunteers.  On firing days, the PAV will give visitors an unforgettable experience as they authentically recreate the firing of the massive guns that armed the fort.

The society welcomes new members and the Portsdown Artillery Volunteers are recruiting.

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