Palmerston Forts Society


PFS Official Statement regarding Hurst Castle

At this morning's PFS Committee, the catastrophe that had struck the East Wing Battery of Hurst Castle was discussed. The committee felt it appropriate that an official public statement should be made:

The collapse of a large section of Hurst Castle’s east wing is a great loss to the nation’s coastal heritage. Although Hurst’s original 16th century tower at the centre of the defensive structure remains intact, it is the huge granite wings, built as part of the Victorian improvements to the nation’s coastal defences in the 1860s, that are the most prominent parts of the site. Sadly they are also at the most risk, as has been demonstrated in the last few weeks.

Although built to withstand heavy artillery fire from the most advanced guns used at the time, the great wings were not designed to withstand an assault from below. When they were built, the waterfront was a good distance from the fort and the wings were constructed on firm ground. 150 years later, the impact of coastal change is all too obvious, with significant changes to the spit's structure within the last 30 years.
Whilst coastal change has affected people living on the UK's coasts for many years, we should recognise that this is not an entirely natural process. We need a deeper understanding of human impact on the coast, such as the influence of dredging and how improvements to one shoreline can be detrimental to others. Hurst has been placed at risk from human actions elsewhere in Christchurch Bay for some time.


As one of the most visible reminders of Britain’s history of military coastal defence, Hurst is a significant heritage asset and one that must be preserved to the best of our ability. We look forward to better understanding how this unfortunate collapse occurred and what plans are being made to secure Hurst’s future. We are happy to work with English Heritage and Historic England in order to establish the most appropriate course of action, and safeguard the rest of the fort from the sea. 




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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