The Royal Armouries, Britain's oldest national museum was originally established in the Tower of London. It now occupies Fort Nelson, to display one of the most respected collections of artillery in the world. The collection has been formed over centuries of exploration and conquest - imaginative scenes and hands-on exhibits together with video presentations successfully describe the development of artillery over the last 500 years.
One of the earliest guns is the Boxted Bombard of about 1450, an English wrought-iron gun powerful enough to fire a 60 kg granite ball. The story continues right through to the 1990's with the sections of the infamous Iraqi Supergun. There are French field guns captured at the battle of Waterloo and fortress guns from India and China.
Live gun firings and regular special events show the incredible power of artillery while a team of costumed interpreters bring the past to life with a range of presentations linked to the exhibits.
A strong France seemed to threaten Britain's security during the middle of the 19th century. As a result, Fort Nelson was built at the insistence of Prime Minister Lord Palmerston. It was part of a ring of advanced fortifications surrounding the Royal Dockyard in Portsmouth to safeguard the Dockyard from attack by land. A garrison of around 200 volunteers accompanied by regular army officers would have manned the Fort. Soon after Fort Nelson was completed in 1871, the threat from France disappeared. The fort and its armaments were maintained and regular training sessions took place - just in case the threat returned.
After the end of World War II the Fort fell into disuse and was eventually abandoned in the 1960's. Hampshire County Council acquired the building and careful restoration followed so that, today, most of the fort is open to the public.
Regular guided tours take place every day providing a fascinating history of the building and explaining why all the original guns face inland!
April to October - Daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
November to March - Thursday - Sunday 10.30 am - 4.00 pm
(Last admission one hour before closing.)
|Children (under 16)||FOC|
|Seniors (over 60)||FOC|
|Group Rates For Groups Over 10||£3.45 (adult) £1.25 (NUS students)|
Down End Road, Fareham PO17 6AN
One mile from M27, Junction 11. Follow brown tourist signs.
Tel: 01329 233734 Fax: 01329 822092
Visit Fort Nelson's own Web Page
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Fareham Borough Council
Civic Offices, Civic Way, Fareham,
Hampshire, PO16 7PP. Tel: +44 (0)1329 236100 - Fax: +44 (0)1329 821770
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