“Big Bang” to launch the £3.5m redevelopment of Fort Nelson - Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Cannon fire and spectacular pyrotechnic effects will ensure the long-awaited project goes off with a “bang” as demolition works starts at the Victorian fort, high on Portsdown Hill, near Fareham.
The “explosion” is scheduled for 12 noon on Tuesday, November 10 and will trigger the controlled demolition of a modern bungalow, adjacent to the staff car park at the Fort.
The demolition is the first stage of a major revamp at the Royal Armouries Museum – home to the national collection of artillery and historic cannon – and will see enhanced visitor facilities, galleries and state-of-the-art education facilities.
Part funded by a grant of almost £2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the project includes:
- A new, 355sq m, free visitor centre and facilities for Fort Nelson and Portsdown Hill outside the walls of the Fort, containing an information and welcome centre, larger shop and new café.
- A dramatic new 450 sq m entrance gallery – the Orienteur – displaying the most dramatic and iconic cannon in the collection including Saddam Hussein’s infamous Supergun.
- A state-of-the-art education centre and facilities, featuring a new ‘classroom of the future’ and dedicated entrance.
- Re-siting the main visitor entrance so that visitors cross a dramatic original drawbridge to enter the fort and provision of a lift between both levels of the Fort to greatly enhance access for all.
- New parking facilities next to the site, providing easy access for the first time to the famous Nelson Monument.
In addition to the HLF grant, an additional £1.5 million match-funding was required. Since a generous lead pledge by the Garfield Weston Foundation, numerous funders have followed suit, with an £87,000 grant from the DCMS / Wolfson Foundation Galleries Improvement Fund. Approximately, £500,000 still needs to be raised.
The Fort Nelson free museum will remain open throughout the building phase in 2010, with an exciting programme of events.
You are invited to send a reporter and photographer/camera crew to the “Big Bang” event at 11.30am, for 12 noon, on November 10th.
Catherine Kelly/Joss Loader
Primary PR Ltd.
01903 783832 / 07704 130226 / 07838 379599
Notes to editors
- The HLF grant to the project Fort Nelson Re-development is for £1,832,000 (53% of project costs) and is a second-round pass, which means it is a confirmed award.
- The Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson houses the national collection of historic cannon and big guns. The museum houses one of the world’s finest collections with over 350 cannon dating back over 600 years and from every corner of the earth. The collection originated at HM Tower of London and has been on display in Hampshire since 1995.
- This year HLF is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Using money raised through the National Lottery, since 1994 it has not only revitalised hundreds of museums, parks, historic buildings, landscapes and wildlife sites, but has also given new meaning to heritage itself. People from every walk of life are now involved with the heritage that inspires them, making choices about what they want to keep and share from the past, for future generations. HLF has supported more than 28,800 projects, allocating over £4.3billion across the UK, including £428million to more than 3,000 projects across the South East England region alone.