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Free spooky half term fun at Fort Nelson

Challenge your children to crack the codes and unravel the mysteries of Fort Nelson this October half term.

The Royal Armouries’ Spies & Secret Agents event runs from Saturday 22 to Sunday 30 October and there’s something for all ages.

Pick up a free Spies and Secret Agents activity trail for hours of code-cracking fun, plus, there’ll be a host of ghoulish ghosts and creepy creatures hidden around the site for younger children to find as they explore on a Halloween trail.

Fort Nelson is a great place to visit at any time of the year but as the days get shorter this historic Victorian fort, with its underground tunnels and secret chambers, is particularly atmospheric.

And if you fancy blowing the cobwebs away, wrap up warm and enjoy the Fort’s spacious outdoors areas with a walk around our ramparts and take in the spectacular views.

Take a break from your adventures with a visit to the café to enjoy a menu including kid’s picnic packs, seasonal soups, spooky biscuits and delicious cakes.

Events Manager, Lizzie Puddick, said: “Come and visit us at Fort Nelson this October half term – it’s a great free day out for all the family and children will enjoy our special code-cracking activity and spooky trail.” ​

The museum galleries display the national collection of artillery with 700 pieces from across the world, spanning 600 years of history.

Spies and secret agents played a key role in the Second World War being sent into enemy territory to find out information including the location of ammunition depots, such as Fort Nelson.

As a national museum, admission to Fort Nelson is free.

Note to Editors:

Opening hours – Tuesday to Sunday (term time) Daily in the school holidays 10am – 5pm.

From 1 November Fort Nelson will be open 10am – 4pm.

For more information contact: 

Cathy Brooks, Communications Officer, at cathy.brooks@armouries.org.uk

Visit our website at https://royalarmouries.org/venue/fort-nelson

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Falklands 40 - What Portsmouth Saw

Come and hear the stories of the veterans who served in the Falklands conflict at Fort Nelson in a new exhibition, Falklands 40 – What Portsmouth Saw.

The exhibition features recordings of local men who served in the Falklands War, discussing their experiences of returning to the south coast, alongside BBC South footage and images from The News of the emotional, spectacular homecomings to Portsmouth Harbour.

A display of small arms used by the armed forces in the Falklands War will also be on show in the exhibition which runs from 25 May to 25 September – free admission.

Fort Nelson witnessed the comings and goings of the Falklands War with ships departing and arriving from its high viewpoint overlooking Portsmouth Harbour.

Forty years on and the exhibition shows the emotion of the homecomings after British troops gained control of the Falklands in June 1982, following the surrender of the Argentinian forces.

Portsmouth played a huge part in the Falklands War. Of the 127 ships that sailed the 8,000 miles to the Falklands, a third of the taskforce were prepared in the dockyard.

We would like to thank ten Falklands veterans who came to film at Fort Nelson, and tell their stories of the conflict and coming home to Portsmouth.

Elizabeth Puddick, Events Manager, said: “We wanted to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands with a special exhibition and then we realised we had the best view in the city of the homecomings.

“It’s a free exhibition so come along and share in a bit of Portsmouth’s history with all the family.”

For more information contact:

Cathy Brooks, Communications Officer, Royal Armouries Fort Nelson on 01329 848 516 or cathy.brooks@armouries.org.uk

Visit our website at https://royalarmouries.org/venue/fort-nelson

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schools’ debate

Students from two secondary schools in Leeds have come together at the Royal Armouries Museum to discuss the pressing issue of violent crime.

The schools’ debate on knife crime links to a temporary exhibition at the museum called ‘At the Sharp End’. This hard-hitting display, which is due to go on tour in the area in October, was developed in partnership with the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit to highlight both the effects of violent crime and the positive work done to tackle the underlying causes of violence in our communities.

The year 10 and 11 students from Boston Spa Academy and John Smeaton Academy took inspiration from the temporary exhibition to debate the following motion:

Education programmes would be more effective than prison sentences when it comes to first time knife crime offenders.

As well as considering the complex content of the arguments for and against, the debate was an opportunity for the students to gain experience in public speaking, as well as teamwork and leadership.

The debate was delivered by external organisation Debate Mate, which supports young people to find their voices and increase their employment skills to narrow the attainment gap affecting schools in more deprived areas.

The day involved visiting the temporary exhibition, debate preparation, speeches from teams of pupils, as well as questions and statements in an interactive and fast-paced session. The debate was judged by Alison Lowe OBE, West Yorkshire Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, and incoming Director General of the Royal Armouries Nat Edwards.

Kyra Davies, Year 11 student from John Smeaton Academy said:

“We’ve been able to have a real insight into the topic at hand – knife crime and violence – all together. We’ve been able to really look at the ins and outs, and the problems that people in charge face when trying to find solutions.”

Nat Edwards, incoming Director General of the Royal Armouries and one of the judges said:

“At the Royal Armouries, we believe that the critical issue of violent crime can only be tackled by communities, individuals and organisations coming together. Collaboration has been pivotal in developing a temporary exhibition on the difficult subject of youth crime and hosting this debate in conjunction with the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit.

“From watching the debate and talking to students, it is clear that the young people of Leeds are impassioned when it comes to speaking up on this critical issue. I was deeply impressed by the debating skills of the pupils as well as their grasp of the complexities of this subject. Congratulations to all involved.”

Alison Lowe OBE, West Yorkshire Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime said:

“It is crucial that our young people are able to express their views and have their voices heard on this incredibly important national agenda.

“Their brilliant contributions will help inform the approach of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and shape future interventions.

“It was a pleasure to judge the debate and witness how passionate they were about driving positive change across our communities.”

Ends.

Notes to editors

Further enquiries to:

communications@armouries.org.uk

07919 626179

 

About Royal Armouries

 

About West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit

Behind the scenes

History-lovers will have the rare chance to see behind the scenes at Fort Nelson as part of a free Heritage Open Days event.

On September 17 and 18 visitors will be given free tours of three areas not usually open to the public – the Victorian Officers Quarters, West Tunnel and West Mortar Battery.

As part as part of this national festival of history and culture visitors, accompanied by an expert guide, will explore unseen areas of the Victorian fort.

All tours are free and last 30 minutes, with several running during the day. Numbers are limited to 16 people per tour and tours must be booked in advance at https://bit.ly/3RuTgsi

Fort Nelson was built in the 1860s to protect against a potential invasion by the French, which never materialised.

Although never used for its original purpose the Fort played a significant role in both World Wars; as barracks for troops waiting to be deployed to the front line in the First, and as an anti-aircraft ammunition supply depot during the Second.

Today it stands as the finest Victorian fort of its kind and as part of the Royal Armouries is home to the national collection of artillery.

Fort Nelson is open six days a week (closed on Mondays) 10am to 5pm.

Events Manager, Elizabeth Puddick, said: “It’s great to be part of such a prestigious national event and to be able to show visitors some behind the scenes areas which are usually not seen by the public.

“Come and discover a piece of Hampshire’s history. It’s a free event so bring all the family but remember to book in advance.”

 For further information contact:

Cathy Brooks, Communications Officer, at cathy.brooks@armouries.org.uk

Find out more about Fort Nelson at https://royalarmouries.org/venue/fort-nelson

Big bang weekend

Come and experience the power and might of the Big Guns being fired at Fort Nelson on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 October.

This special free Big Bang Weekend will feature Second World War artillery, fired by uniformed members of the Garrison Artillery Volunteers.

A range of big guns, including field artillery plus anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, will be fired in three dramatic sessions – at 11am, 1pm and 3pm each day.

The gun crews and artillery experts will be on hand to talk about the guns and the firing drills. There will also be a range of short Insight talks throughout the day.

The event is free, but tickets need to be booked in advance as numbers are limited. Book ticket at https://bit.ly/3QfEYuA

This will be the first time since 2019 that the Big Guns have been fired at the Victorian fort.

Events Manager, Elizabeth Puddick, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have gun firing back at the Fort for this one-off special weekend.

“Royal Armouries is home to the national collection of artillery and to be able to fire some of our exhibits and show them in action will really bring history to life.

“The event is free, but we have limited numbers so remember to book in advance to guarantee your place – bring all the family for a really remarkable weekend.”

 

Note to Editors: 

Fort Nelson was built in the 1860s to protect against a potential invasion by the French, which never materialised.

Although never used for its original purpose the Fort played a significant role in both World Wars; as barracks for troops waiting to be deployed to the front line in the First, and as an anti-aircraft ammunition supply depot during the Second.

This is a free event and pre-booked tickets include museum admission. Car parking is £3.

 

For more information contact:

Cathy Brooks, Communications Officer at  cathy.brooks@armouries.org.uk

01329 848 516

Visit our website at https://royalarmouries.org/venue/fort-nelson

The Royal Armouries’ Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Nat Edwards as the new Director General and Master of the Armouries.

Nat is currently Chief Executive Officer of Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds where he has overseen a £4million refurbishment of the museum since joining in 2018. Prior to that he has accrued over 30 years’ experience working in museums, heritage and visitor attractions. His career spans institutions such as the Science Museum Group, National Library of Scotland, National Trust for Scotland and Glasgow Museums.

John Procter, Chair of the Board of Trustees said:

“Nat Edwards impressed the recruitment panel with the breadth of his experience ranging from extensive capital funding projects, business initiatives, large scale exhibitions and community and educational projects. His passion for connecting museums with the audiences and communities they serve stood out and we are looking forward to his arrival at the Royal Armouries in the Autumn.”

Nat Edwards, incoming Director General and Master of the Armouries said:

“One of the wonderful things about working in museums is that, however many years you spend in them, they never fail to amaze and surprise. The Armouries is one of the world’s oldest museums and, over the years has witnessed through its buildings and collections, some of the most incredible stories – touching every aspect of our humanity at its best and at its worst. I can’t wait to discover those shared stories together with all the new audiences whom I will make it my mission to welcome in – not simply as spectators to history but as active participants in its making.”

Nat Edwards Director General standing in front of a brick wall

Nat Edwards Director General and Master of the Armouries. Image credit Thackray Museum of Medicine.

Ends.

Notes to editors

For immediate release.

Please direct any further enquiries to:

communications@armouries.org.uk

07919 626179

Summer adventures at Fort Nelson

An action-packed summer of fun awaits visitors to Fort Nelson, with barrel-loads of children’s activities, including an exciting assault course.

Children will love the challenge of the junior assault course, suitable for ages 5 –11 years. Tickets cost £4.50, pay on the door.

Families will also be able to explore the 19-acre site with a free, interactive ‘Fun at the Fort’ trail.

Summer activities will run daily from Wednesday 20 July to Sunday 4 September and as a national museum, admission is to the Fort is free. Open daily 10am to 5pm.

A special free exhibition Falklands 40 – What Portsmouth saw – will continue to run through the school holidays with images from The News and BBC South footage of ships coming home to Portsmouth, as well as recordings of local veterans talking about the conflict.

Fort Nelson is a fun day out for all the family on the doorstep of Portsmouth. Come and explore the Victorian fort with its tunnel, ramparts, and outdoor space, as well as a museum of treasures to discover.

There are lots of picnic benches around the site, and the café and refreshment kiosk will be open every day for light meals, snacks and drinks.

Events Manager, Elizabeth Puddick, said: “It’s going to be an action-packed summer at Fort Nelson. The assault course is always a big hit with the children, and they will enjoy the free trail too.

“We’re really looking forward to giving our summer visitors a warm welcome to Fort Nelson.”

Ends

Note to Editors:

Fort Nelson was built in the 1860s to protect against a potential invasion by the French, which never materialised.

Although never used for its original purpose the Fort played a significant role in both World Wars; as barracks for troops waiting to be deployed to the front line in the First, and as an anti-aircraft ammunition supply depot during the Second.

Fort Nelson is now a national museum and home to the Royal Armouries collection of artillery and historic cannon. The museum galleries and outdoor spaces display over 700 pieces, from early siege machines to modern-day superguns, from the UK and across the globe.

For more information contact:

Cathy Brooks, Communications Officer cathy.brooks@armouries.org.uk

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Victorian Fun Fair

Roll up, roll up! Enjoy the fun of the fair in the perfect Victorian setting of Fort Nelson.

Traditional rides of a steam carousel, swing boats, a Ferris wheel and a pepper-pot helter-skelter will be in full swing on Saturday June 18 and June 19.

A coconut shy, tin-can alley and a traditional test-your-strength machine will be amongst fairground stalls as well as a fortune teller and a Victorian photo booth to capture memories of the fair weekend.

Children can take on the challenge of our assault course whilst Victorian costumed characters roam the fair talking to visitors with three performances during the day.

Fort Nelson held a Victorian fair last year to mark 150 years of soldiers arriving at the fort and due to its huge success, the event is being repeated this year.

Tickets cost £10 per person to include unlimited rides, the assault course as well as parking and entry to the museum. Book at https://bit.ly/3svNjkG

The event is free for under 3s and children under 1.2m high will need to be accompanied on the rides. This year we have two rides especially for toddlers.

Bookings must be made in advance as capacity is limited with arrival times on tickets between 10am and 2pm but visitors can stay as long as they wish once on site. Fort Nelson will close at 5pm.

Refreshments will be available from our café, outdoor kiosk and a candy floss stall.

The Parade Ground will be closed to non-ticket holders for the weekend of the event. But the museum will be open as usual for visitors to discover the history of Fort Nelson.

Elizabeth Puddick, Public Engagement Manager, said: “The fair was such a success last year that we wanted to repeat the event.

“The Victorian fort is a unique backdrop for the rides so do come along and enjoy the fun of the fair – but remember to book in advance as numbers are limited.”

Ends

Note to Editors:

Fort Nelson was built in the 1860s to protect against a potential invasion by the French, which never materialised.

Although never used for its original purpose the Fort played a significant role in both World Wars; as barracks for troops waiting to be deployed to the front line in the First, and as an anti-aircraft ammunition supply depot during the Second.

Opening times – Sunday to Wednesday 10am – 5pm during term time and daily in the school holidays.

For further information contact:

Cathy Brooks, Communications Officer, at cathy.brooks@armouries.org.uk

Keep in touch on the go on  Facebook Twitter  Instagram

Find out more about Fort Nelson at https://royalarmouries.org/venue/fort-nelson

The Royal Armouries is pleased to announce that Rod Taylor will take up the role of Interim Director General from 1 February 2022.

Rod has extensive experience of the Royal Armouries gained in his role as Chief Operating Officer over the last eight years. Before joining the museum, Rod held senior positions at The Hepworth Wakefield and at the Science Museum Group with responsibilities across the National Media Museum and the National Railway Museum.

John Procter, Chair of the Board of Trustees said:

“I am very pleased to say that the Board of Trustees and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has appointed Rod Taylor, Royal Armouries’ Chief Operating Officer, as Interim Director General and Accounting Officer on Edward Impey’s retirement. Rod will occupy the position from the 1st February until a permanent appointment is made.

I am grateful to Rod for taking up this position and know that he and all of our staff will continue to do their utmost for our museum, our visitors and our stakeholders under his leadership.”

Ends

Further enquiries to:

communications@armouries.org.uk

What has happened?

On Tuesday 11 January the Royal Armouries began experiencing disruption to its IT systems.

On Wednesday 12 January a cyber security incident was confirmed to be in progress. Investigations began and immediate measures were taken to secure the system and prevent any further impact. This has caused some disruption to internal IT processes.

During investigations, the potential for some limited personal data breaches has been identified. This was reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office on Friday 14 January in line with regulations and communications have begun with potentially affected parties.

As yet no personal data breaches relating to visitors have been identified. As the investigation progresses, any further affected parties will be communicated with by Royal Armouries.

What is being done to address the situation?

The Royal Armouries is now going through a stringent process of decontamination, and is taking a prudent approach to ensure the security of its IT systems going forward. As the priority is to be diligent, ongoing disruption to IT systems is expected for some time.

All sites remain open, and the website and social media channels are unaffected.

Throughout this situation, the Royal Armouries is working in conjunction with the National Cyber Security Centre and liaising with the Information Commissioner’s Office. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport is being kept informed.

Further enquiries to:

communications@armouries.org.uk