Palmerston Forts Society
The Palmerston Forts Society was formed in 1984 using Fort Nelson, purchased by Hampshire County Council, as their H.Q.
The Society intended to help with restoration and interpretation, for example by research and providing weekend guided tours when Fort Nelson opened to the public.
From here came the main thrust of the Society’s work, not just at Fort Nelson but for Victorian fortification world-wide. Its large archive offers research information and expertise to many individuals and organisations.
In 1988 the Royal Armouries leased the Fort from Hampshire County Council. Encouraged by the museum, the Society formed the Portsdown Artillery Volunteers [PAV], accurately representing garrison artillery. Detachments of the PAV have worked closely with the museum in re-creating Victorian artillery firing using the correct drills.
On PAV firing days, visitors enjoy seeing the Barrack Room and Victorian kitchen in use, thanks to the hard work of the Society. It has also financed projects such as researching military lamps for Fort Nelson while work parties, amongst many other tasks, have excavated the Guthrie drawbridge at the main entrance.
The Society’s own website is a major resource for Victorian fortification and has helped in making the subject better known world-wide . It also publishes the respected journal The Redan and a series of booklets on Victorian fortification and artillery.
The Palmerston Forts Society or the Portsdown Artillery Volunteers is open to new members.