Mobilising the guns at Fort Nelson - Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A highly skilled operation to move some of the most famous big guns in history into the spectacular new glass-sided gallery at Fort Nelson started today (4 July 2011).

Britain’s oldest museum, the Royal Armouries, has contracted international engineers Beck & Pollitzer to carry out the removal work as part of a £3.5m revamp, part funded by a grant of more than £2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Beck & Pollitzer are moving the first exhibits – two anti-aircraft guns – into the new gallery, The Voice of the Guns, at Fort Nelson, near Portsmouth. A further 12 guns will now be moved into position during the next two weeks, paving the way for the museum relaunch on August 6.

Sean Mannie, Head of Royal Armouries South, said, “It’s particularly fitting that we’re starting with anti-aircraft guns, because, in World War II, Fort Nelson supplied ammunition to the AA batteries that defended the south coast. These weapons gave the local civilian population hope and a sense of fighting back, as they suffered through the blitzes of 1940-41.”

Moving the guns from storage to the new gallery is a major milestone in a yearlong construction project to refurbish the Victorian Fort, sympathetically, into a museum fit for the 21st Century. Other major improvements include a new visitor centre, café, education centre and extended parking.

Guns to be moved early this week include:

Weight: 8,120 kg
Date: 1943
Fire rate: 8 rounds per minute.

Weight: – 1,920 kg
Date: – 1940
Fire rate: – 120 rounds per minute.

Other guns to be moved into the new gallery include a French cannon, captured at the Battle of Waterloo; a bronze Russian cannon from the Crimean War of the 1850s, and sections from the barrel of the infamous Iraqi Supergun.

The Fort remains open during the gun movement operation. For more details

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Download images of the guns being moved.


Media contact

Joss Loader
Primary PR Ltd.
Tel: 07838 379599

Notes to editors

Download the PDF press release.