Palmerston Forts Society


Hurst Castle Front Seaward-Facing Wall Collapse

A section of Hurst Castle's east wing, near Milford-on-Sea, Lymington, fell on Friday. Owner English Heritage said the sea had weakened the foundations. It added engineers were assessing the damage and planning remedial works. The site was closed to the public at the time of the collapse and there have been no reports of any injuries.

Most recently, English Heritage carried out work in 2019 to stabilise the foundations of the west wing and to reinforce its sea defences. It confirmed a programme of works to protect the 19th Century east wing was "about to commence". Estates director Rob Woodside said: "This is a devastating blow to a Hampshire icon and for all of us whose life's work is to protect England's historic buildings." The organisation said it was among "the most challenging and most difficult heritage to protect" due to its "extremely vulnerable position, exposed to the full onslaught of the sea". "Located on a shingle spit the castle faces the full force of the wind and waves," it added.

Hurst Castle was originally built by Tudor king Henry VIII between 1541 and 1544 to guard Needles Passage, which is the narrow western entrance between the Isle of Wight and the mainland. From 1860, the large east and west wing batteries were added as part of a defence programme. The castle was also used for searchlights and guns during World War One and World War Two.


Volunteers needed to help get the big guns firing at Fort Nelson.

Volunteers are needed to help bring gun firing back to Fort Nelson in Portsmouth. The Portsdown Artillery Volunteers (PAV) were established to reenact the firing of the Victorian guns at Fort Nelson on Portsdown Hill and they are looking to recruit new volunteers to help both fire and maintain the mighty Victorian guns. If you are interested in joining the Portsdown Artillery Volunteers and demonstrating this forgotten part of Britain’s history, you can contact the team at or you can talk to some of the volunteers at their Fort Nelson open day between 10am and 4pm on Sunday 22 October
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R.I.P. David Moore

The PFS is saddened to announce the passing of a founding member and great friend of the PFS - David Moore - a person of vast Victorian fortifications knowledge. The delay in advising the membership is out of respect for David's family who did not want it to be publicised until after his funeral.

Fort Gilkicker sold for £1.386M

The online auction on the Clive Emson site has just ended with Fort Gilkicker being sold for £1.386 million against a guide price of £1.5 million.  There were four bidders willing to pay at least £1.35 million. We also have just had a recent report that intruders to the site – which is hardly secure – have done more permanent damage to the barracks block. We can only hope that the new owner – whatever their intentions – gets this site secure and safe very soon.

Horse Sand Fort sold for £715,000

The BBC website has just announced the following.... 'A derelict sea fort built to deter a French invasion in the 19th Century has been sold for £715,000.
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