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Fort Nelson

History Live! weekend

Discover the Fort’s fascinating history
17th August - 10:00 am - 18th August - 5:00 pm

The Fort has played its part in conflicts from Victorian times through to the First and Second World Wars. Find out more about its fascinating history at our action-packed summer weekends featuring themed talks and tours, craft activities, have-a-goes, costumed characters and much more.

Saturday 17 August
Time travel with a Victorian engineer

During the Napoleonic Wars a French invasion had been thwarted by England’s dominant sea power. But with the election of Napoleon III, as the first President of France in 1848, it looked like a French invasion may again be a possibility. The British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston appointed a Royal Commission to look into the defence of England. Its findings were ‘alarming’. With the French building new ironclad ships and investing in massive artillery pieces, the defences of England looked decidedly old-fashioned. What to do?

Step back in time with our Victorian engineer to 1860 and discover the British government’s solution to this thorny problem. Would the construction of a ring of forts around the naval base of Portsmouth protect it from attack? Or would the whole project just be a huge waste of money? Join our engineer to find out.

Sunday 18 August
Time travel with a Victorian soldier

What was it like to live within the walls of the massive fortifications of Fort Nelson in the 1890s? What was there to do with no threat of invasion? Join our Victorian soldier, a veteran of a long military career serving Her Majesty and the British Empire, in his new posting at Fort Nelson.

What does he think of a place that has never seen a shot fired in anger and what about his fellow soldiers of the Volunteer Company? Is this the future of the defence of England? In a time when Britannia’s wars are being fought in far-off lands do we need Fort Nelson? What if there was another threat on the horizon, closer to home? Could we defend ourselves? Join our Victorian soldier to find out more.