Fort Nelson plans on show

Long-awaited plans to give a major facelift to one of the South Coast’s most imposing tourist attractions will be unveiled to the public on Monday 20th October.

The £3.5 million scheme involves upgrading facilities at the Royal Armouries Museum at Fort Nelson in Fareham – home to one of the most important international collections of historic cannon in the world.

Proposed improvements include a new visitor centre, major new gallery structure to house the largest, most iconic objects in the collection and a state-of-the-art education centre. The whole scheme will cost over £3.5 million, with part of the cost being funded by a £2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The plans will go on show at the Fort between 5pm and 7pm on Monday, October 20, and the Royal Armouries are inviting visitors to relax with a glass of wine and take a look at the models and pictures of the proposed development, plus chat with the project management team. Residents of the area around Fort Nelson (Southwick, Portchester, Boarhunt and Wickham) are particularly invited to attend – but all are welcome.

Sean Mannie, Head of Royal Armouries South, said, “We would like to hear the public’s views and explain what we are doing. Public backing for this project is very important to us and we hope to canvas the views of as many people as possible.”
The Fort Nelson improvements are necessary as visitor numbers grew from 39,000 to 90,000 between 2000 and 2005. This success contributes greatly to the local economy – protecting over 40 jobs, supporting many others and ensuring a major piece of Southern Hampshire’s local heritage is protected and accessible to all.

Sean added, “This success has placed great strain on the historic monument and its facilities which were not originally designed for the volume of visitors now coming in. For Fort Nelson to have a long-term future, it is vital that it reacts and develops to meet the needs of even more visitors and the long-term care of the collection.

“Now the Royal Armouries, with the support of Hampshire County Council, who own the Fort site, have created an exciting development plan that will enhance the whole site, providing better facilities, new and exciting galleries and displays, new education facilities and the chance to open up more areas of the Fort to explore.”
Heritage Lottery Fund