Palmerston Forts Society

About Us

The Palmerston Forts Society was formed in 1984 and is based at Fort Nelson, Fareham, which is now home to the Royal Armouries Museum of Artillery.

In the early 1980’s Fort Nelson was quietly crumbling away but was rescued by the intervention of Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council, together with a small number of dedicated volunteers, to preserve it for future generations. These local volunteers went on to become the core of the Society which now has an international membership.

PFS members are encouraged to share their research with a view to publishing it in the Society’s annual journal ‘The Redan’ which is distributed each October. Meetings are held at Fort Nelson on the fourth Wednesday of every month, excluding August and December, often with speakers on military subjects that may range from Victorian guns to local history to World War One and Two. One meeting each year is normally a visit to a local fort or gun battery not generally available to the public, and each year at least one visit is made to fortifications outside of the area. The Society’s Annual General Meeting is held at Fort Nelson each October.

Members are welcome to take part in conservation activities and Saturday morning work parties at Fort Nelson (in cooperation with Royal Armouries). In the past two years the PFS work parties have achieved a great amount on the western ramparts at the Fort, including building an Ordinary Gun Platform on which a 64pr RML mounted on a Common Garrison Carriage is located, and creating a new firing step on which soldiers would have been deployed during an attack.

Monthly meeting

The Palmerston Forts Society is a registered charity, for more information please use the following link to the Charities Commission web-site:

Meetings / Events

25/11/2020 - November Members' Evening

The PFS Committee has regrettably cancelled this evening's meeting due to the on-going Covid-19 situation. Royal Armouries will re-open Fort Nelson from the 11th August but access will be controlled in-line with current safety requirements, which included no events, meetings or gatherings.

News

Eggbuckland Keep

Plymouth City Council website has a detailed pre-application proposal for the conversion of Eggbuckland Keep. See main content for application details and a link to the council's website.
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The Redan No.81

The 2020 issue of The Redan has been received from the printers, and a general mail out to members who have renewed will commence from the 26th October. A digitised version can be found in the members' area of the PFS website.

Palmerston Forts Society updates its Constitution.

An important part of the business at the Annual General Meeting on the 17th October was gaining members’ support for an update to our constitution, which included voting procedures, the management of meetings and the status of different types of membership.  The proposed amendments were voted on and approved. This revised constitution was then submitted to the Charities Commission who accepted the amendments and approved it.  The new constitution has been uploaded to the members’ area of the PFS website.

Fort Nelson reopens on 11th August

Fort Nelson will be open from 11 August 2020. Once again, visitors will be able to enjoy the panoramic views from the fort’s ramparts, explore the main tunnel, get up close to collection highlights in the Voice of the Guns gallery and visit the newly refurbished Artillery Hall. Although the main cafe will not be open there will be a takeaway menu and plenty of picnic space. Social distancing and various other forms of safety control will be in place, and so the number of people on site can be managed it is necessary to book advance for the three timed daily sessions. Admission is free but on-site car parking incurs a small charge. For advance booking: https://bit.ly/338cVrN

PFS Annual Outing is cancelled

The PFS Committee has regrettably cancelled the Annual Outing to the Chatham forts Horsted and Luton due to the current Covid-19 situation. It is not certain that the forts will be open to visitors on the 19th September but, even if they are, the hire of a coach from Fort Nelson is subject to too many social distancing restrictions that the trip would be commercially nonviable. This is a disappointing but necessary decision, and the first time in more than twenty years that there has not been an annual outing but, hopefully, next year will return to normal. 

The Palmerston Forts Society and Covid-19

The PFS Committee has regrettably cancelled all PFS activities for the next three months due to the current Covid-19 situation. It is hoped that by June 2020 the situation will have improved enough so that normal services and activities can be resumed, and the membership will be kept informed accordingly. Royal Armouries has closed Fort Nelson to the general public from the 18th March until further notice.

Fort Gilkicker back on the market

The roller-coaster ride for Fort Gilkicker continues, as it's back on the market yet again.... 
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Drop Redoubt Open Weekend dates for 2020

Drop Redoubt Open Weekend dates for 2020: 30th – 31st May and 5th – 6th September. For full details: https://doverwesternheights.org

A new animation of the 100-ton gun at Fort Rinella, Malta.

Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna (The Malta Heritage Trust) were involved in the creation of the animation and Mario Farrugia, who represents the trust, wrote an excellent article about the fort and gun for Redan 48 back in 1998. To see the animation click on the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyItmfUO3WA
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Merry Christmas!

The PFS Committee would like to take this festive time opportunity to wish the members of the Society a 'Very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous 2020'.
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Hurst Castle storm damage sparks safety fears

Fears over the future of Hurst Castle have been heightened after storm damage forced the historic building’s closure at the weekend. English Heritage, which owns the scheduled monument near Milford, has shut a number exhibition rooms for the foreseeable future after large cracks appeared in the walls and ceilings.
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PFS Membership Renewals

The new PFS membership year commenced on the 1st October, and thanks to all members who have renewed, but a reminder to those who have yet to renew that their subscription for the 2019-2020 year is now in overdue.

Peter Ashley Activity Centres: Fort Widley Heritage Evening - 4th October 2019

The Peter Ashley Activity Centre at Fort Widley will be open for a unique evening on Friday 4th October with a tour of the Secret Nuclear Bunker. The two hour guided tour begins at 6.30 pm and will include access to the Nuclear Civil Defence Bunker and a talk about the changes to civil defence since the 1950s. The cost is £15 per person and does include refreshments, including Pompey Pals Ale. To book call Lydia on 02392 321223 or email: lydia@peterashleyactivitycentres.co.uk
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Fort Cumberland Heritage Open Days

Fort Cumberland Heritage Open Days will be from Friday 13th September to Monday 16th September. Full details and tickets are available on the website: www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/event/fort-cumberland1
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