Palmerston Forts Society

News

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. 

 

 

Meetings / Events

27/06/2021 - Slough Fort Open Day Sunday 27th June

The Slough Fort Preservation Trust has announced an Open Day on Sunday 27th June 2021, which is an additional activity to their regular Sunday Tours. For more details, check the Slough Fort website: https://sloughfort.org.uk/ The Fort Nelson based Portsdown Artillery Volunteers will be in attendance at the Open Day, so come along if you wish to support our brave lads. For your SAT NAV, use the postcode: ME3 9QF although this postcode is not recognised by some SAT NAV systems. If this does not work then use ME3 9QD.

14/08/2021 - PFS members only visit to Fort Gilkicker

The PFS committee is delighted to announce that the new owners of Fort Gilkicker have agreed to a visit by PFS members on August 14th.  There is no fee for this visit but there are a limited number of spaces available and these will be allocated on a first come first served basis. To confirm - this is a PFS members only event. If you wish to take part in this visit, then please contact: enquires@palmerstonfortssociety.org.uk

16/10/2021 - PFS Annual General Meeting 2021

The PFS will hold the 2021 AGM on Saturday 16th October at 14.00hrs. As yet it is undecided if the meeting will be virtual by Zoom (as last year) or live at Fort Nelson, subject to Royal Armouries' approval and in accordance with whatever safety requirements they determine. All PFS members are invited to attend.

News

Palmerston Forts Society Members' Survey

In February and March this year, we surveyed the PFS membership on the subject of the PFS website.  This was the third members’ survey, the previous two concerning Social Media and Meetings and Events. Members were asked six questions about the website and one question each about our Facebook page and the Newsletter:  66% of members responded – a high response rate that gives us confidence that the results are representative. We were pleased to find that the PFS website was rated highly by most members.  The most common response was that the website was “fine as it is” but there were some good ideas for improvements and some of those have already been implemented.  For example, you will find a new page in the website on the PFS committee – how the committee works and who the members are. Feedback on the Newsletter was also very positive. The full results of the survey and the agreed actions can be found in the Members Area Menu on the website.

PFS New Publication - 'The Portsmouth Artillery Volunteers 1797 - 1908'

The PFS has just launched a new publication - 'The Portsmouth Artillery Volunteers 1797-1908' by PFS member Duncan Williams. This full colour, 36 page booklet, follows the story of the Volunteer Artillerymen that manned the nation’s fortifications from the late 18th to early 20th centuries. Although the book uses the units formed in Portsmouth to illustrate the development of the nation's Volunteer Artillery force, the information would be useful to anybody with an interest in a rarely covered topic on British military history or the local history of Portsmouth. Full details of how to purchase this publication can be found on the Information tab of the PFS website.

Latest news concerning Fort Gilkicker

On Wednesday 5th May, four members of the Palmerston Forts Society meet with two directors of the development company that has bought Fort Gilkicker and their architect.  We were invited to the meeting after approaching the developers with a request for clarification of their plans for the fort.
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English Heritage Statement on Hurst Castle

EH have issued a statement on their web site concerning the collapse of part of the castle and the work currently being carried out.
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Fort Nelson reopens on 12th April

Fort Nelson will be open from 12 April 2021. Once again, visitors will be able to enjoy the panoramic views from the fort’s ramparts, The galleries will then be opened on May 17th as the Covid restrictions are relaxed. Although the main café will not be open, the snack bar will be open with 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 timed daily sessions. Admission is free but on-site car parking incurs a small charge. Disappointingly, it looks as if there are no plans for live firings in 2021. Nigel Hosier, the Operations Manager, is quoted: "The guns have been silent for more than a year now but we have big plans for their return in 2022. They are the life, sight and smell of the fort. We plan to revamp and remodel how we do it." For advance booking check the Royal Armouries website: https://royalarmouries.org/venue/fort-nelson/

Fort Gilkicker - interesting news (perhaps)

Interesting news about FORT GILKICKER (perhaps) The Fort Gilkicker Information Group today reports: “………. I just wanted to update you with an important piece of news I have been informed of today. Two reliable sources of information have told me that contracts have been exchanged very recently for Gilkicker which means that the fort now possibly has a new owner and work is again going to commence very soon. I am awaiting a final reply from …….regarding this issue but will keep you all updated accordingly. …….” We will keep you posted on this one !
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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.
read more ...

Hurst Castle Front Seaward-Facing Wall Collapse

Terrible news form Hurst Castle as the front seaward-facing wall collapses due to coastal erosion. A report from the BBC news website follows....
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Exciting news about Eastney Fort East

Earlier this week, a delegation from the Palmerston Forts Society met with the new owners of the site of the former Royal Marines Museum which includes the battery. The owners plan to develop the site into Portsmouth's first five star hotel. We were invited to discuss options for the future of the battery site.
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Amazon Smile

The PFS have registered with Amazon Smile. If you use Amazon why not use Amazon Smile instead, there is no difference to you as the customer, but for every £1 you spend, those nice folk at Amazon will give the PFS a ha'penny!
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