Palmerston Forts Society

British Fortifications of the 19th and 20th Century

The Palmerston Forts Society has published an excellent introduction into the subject of the Palmerston fortifications of Britain. This 36 page booklet was first published in 2003, but now it has been updated and revised with this latest 2017 full colour edition. This A4 booklet examines the development of British Fortifications built during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

It has the following sections:

  • Introduction.
  • Types or Work and their Purpose.
  • Historical Background.
  • Gloire.
  • Royal Commission of 1859.
  • Coastal Defence Works.
  • Iron Shielding and Artillery Development.
  • Land Forts.
  • Moncrieff Mountings and Further Development in Guns.
  • The defences of the Commercial Ports.
  • The Chatham Fortress Ring.
  • The defence of London.
  • The outbreak of the First World War.

The book is richly illustrated with: 11 maps and plans. ■ 27 colour photographs. ■ 11 black and white antique illustrations and photographs.

This book can be purchased at the Fort Nelson museum shop, through Amazon.co.uk or, if you are in the UK, via Paypal using the button below for £8.35 including Royal Mail p&p:

Society Published Articles - The Redan

The Palmerston Forts Society provides its members with an annual journal "The Redan". The articles within the Redan are the results of individual members' research and cover all manner of subjects. The Redan has been published since 1986 and as a result it is a rich source of information for PFS members on all matters relating to Victorian Fortifications.

Below are a few samples of Redan articles taken from the back issues of the Redan which give a taste of the diverse nature of the articles published:

  • The married life of a soldier -
  • The defences of the Mersey -
  • Billiards in the forts -

To get an idea of what research articles are contained within the past issues of the Redan, the following document is a complete index from 1986 to 2019.

All the past issues of the Redan are available for members to view/download within the members area of the web site which can be entered by keying in a user name and password into the input fields in the top right of the page.

Fort Log

Fort Log is a series of two page documents designed to give the reader the key points and summarised information about each Victorian Fort & Battery within Great Britain. Like the Redan articles, the Fort Logs are the result of individual member's research and have been accumulated since their inception since 1993.

To date 256 individual Fort Logs are available to the members covering Forts and Batteries from Orkney to Guernsey, and many places in-between. They are included within the index document above.

A Sample Fort Logs are given below:

Pendennis Castle - Liscard Battery -

Fort Log like the Redan is a rich source of information about the Victorian Forts and Batteries of Great Britain, and the format given enables them to be used as field guides. All 256 Fort Logs are available in the members section of the web-site to be downloaded together with some useful maps to help identify the location of each site.

Meetings / Events

23/09/2020 - Members' Photo Evening

The PFS Committee has regrettably cancelled this evening's meeting due to the current 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.

17/10/2020 - PFS Annual General Meeting

The PFS Committee has regrettably cancelled this year's AGM at Fort Nelson 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. Howewer, the PFS will hold the AGM at the same date and time - 17th October 2020 at 14.00hrs - by a Zoom meeting. All PFS members are invited to attend.

28/10/2020 - October 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

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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Redan 80 Availability

The 2019 issue of The Redan has been received from the printers, and will be distributed to members who attend this year's AGM on the 12th October. A general mail out to members who have renewed will commence from the 14th October.

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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