SU6007 : Fort Nelson - Main tunnel

taken 4 years ago, near to Boarhunt, Hampshire, Great Britain

Fort Nelson - Main tunnel
Fort Nelson - Main tunnel
The Palmerston fort of Fort Nelson is a complicated structure with many rooms, galleries, trenches and tunnels such as this allowing access to various parts of the fort without being exposed to enemy fire. This is the main tunnel which runs roughly north-south and delves beep beneath the main structure of the fort. Its main purposes were to allow access to the armaments chambers and to the cannon emplacements around the perimeter.
This fort is fascinating to wander around, and is on a grand scale, allowing visitors plenty of interesting things to explore. It would be well worth a visit for this alone, but as it also houses hundreds of examples of artillery spanning 500 years, there is a lot to see - and all for free.
See shared descriptions below:
Fort Nelson
Fort Nelson was built at considerable expense (78,649) in the 1860s on the orders of Lord Palmerston, the then Prime Minister. This equates to many millions of pounds in today's money.
It was one of a whole clutch of major fortifications built in this period to defend Britain from the perceived danger of attack from France.
A series of forts, batteries and redoubts were built along the South Coast near to the major Naval bases, especially Portsmouth (as in this case) and Plymouth. The forts were built some way inland from the ports themselves as they were to defend these bases from encircling attacks. Each fort's range overlapped with adjacent forts in order to both create a continuous chain of defence, and so that should one fort fall to the enemy the adjacent fort or forts could bombard it and stop it being used by the enemy themselves.
In many ways the basic design of these forts as exemplified by Fort Nelson was a development of the Star Forts of Henry VIII, but with modern (C19th) innovations and enhancements.
None of these Palmerston Forts ever actually fired a shot in anger and were therefore often seen as expensive "white elephants", but as with all forms of defence they may well have helped to prevent an attack, and therefore served their purpose. During the subsequent world wars of the C20th, the forts continued to play an important role in the defence of the country, though not in the ways that had originally been planned. Fort Nelson in particular was used for various purposes during both these wars, and in WWII held a vast quantity of armaments awaiting use. As such it would have been a primary target for attack by the Luftwaffe, but its strategic importance was carefully downplayed and not advertised by excessive defensive batteries of anti-aircraft guns for example.
For more information on the fort's history see LinkExternal link
Not surprisingly for such an historic building, it is listed as Grade I by English Heritage - see LinkExternal link
In particular see LinkExternal link which has a lot of facts and figures about the fort as well as plans and a virtual "tour".
Royal Armouries - Fort Nelson
The Palmerston Fort of Fort Nelson to the north of Portsmouth now houses the big guns of the Royal Armouries National Collection of Artillery.
This is a national museum with free entry, see their website here LinkExternal link
It houses a vast collection of all forms of artillery from great historical cannons dating back to the C15th to part of the barrel of Saddam Hussein's intended "super gun" with examples of thousands of pieces of artillery from every intervening period.
These are all housed in the numerous rooms and galleries of the old fort, as well as in its large courtyard, and in two hanger-like sheds which contain such things as a vast railway-mounted gun.
A very informative guided tour is available for a modest fee (3 per person as at 2015) which will point out many of the most interesting features of the site. If you have any interest in military weaponry, you will be able to spend many happy hours in this huge warren!
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Rob Farrow and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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SU6007, 100 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Sunday, 29 November, 2015   (more nearby)
Submitted
Sunday, 10 January, 2016
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Defence, Military 
Place (from Tags)
Fort Nelson 
Primary Subject of Photo
Fort 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 6070 0715 [10m precision]
WGS84: 50:51.6410N 1:8.3353W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 6070 0714
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
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Other Tags
Palmerston Fort  Museum  Royal Armouries Museum 

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