Marking the Battle of Trafalgar - Thursday, 20 October 2011
The Royal Armouries marks Lord Nelson’s famous victory at the Battle of Trafalgar on Sunday (October 23) with the firing of a 206-year-old gun, of the kind used on board HMS Victory in 1805.
A uniformed crew of sailors will fire the restored 12-pounder gun at Fort Nelson, near Fareham, at 12 noon and 3pm to mark Trafalgar Day, which actually falls on Friday (October 21).
Fort Nelson – home to the national collection of artillery and cannon – will ring to the sound of the original 1805-dated muzzle-loading, sea service cannon, used commonly on Royal Naval ships at Trafalgar, including HMS Victory.
Head of Royal Armouries South, Sean Mannie said, “The crew will wear uniform dating to the period – 1805 – and the gun firings promise to be quite a spectacle. This year we are marking the anniversary on the Sunday, as that’s traditionally a busy day for us and allows the maximum number of visitors to see the gun firings.”
Horatio, Lord Nelson, has held a special place in local people’s hearts for over 200 years – and his monument stands proudly on Portsdown Hill, next to the Royal Armouries Museum at Fort Nelson. The monument was paid for by the men of the fleet who fought at Trafalgar and from prize money.
Nelson masterminded the defeat of the French and Spanish from his ship HMS Victory, now docked at nearby Portsmouth. The battle cost him his life, as he died onboard after being hit by a French sniper’s bullet. The victory at Trafalgar meant that Britain was safe from invasion and was the world’s strongest naval power for many years.
Museum admission and the gun firings are free.
Fort Nelson has recently undergone a £3.5 restoration, supported by a grant of over £2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
As well as gun firings, visitors can explore the 19-acre Victorian fort and see the new galleries and visitor centre, including Café 1871. One of the highlights is the Voice of the Guns Gallery – showcasing 14 of the Royal Armouries’ most famous exhibits, including two sections of the Iraqi Supergun and the Turkish Bombard, dating to 1464.
For more details about the Royal Armouries and the national collection housed at Fort Nelson, visit:
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Notes to editors
- The Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson houses the national collection of historic cannon and big guns. The museum houses one of the world’s finest collections with over 350 cannon dating back over 600 years. The collection originated at HM Tower of London and has been on display in Hampshire since 1995.
- The Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson also tells the story of the Palmerston Forts, built to protect Portsmouth from a feared French invasion in the 1860’s.
- Fort Nelson is open every day except 24-26 December. April to October 10am –5pm (Wed 11am-5pm), November – March 10.30am – 4pm (Wed 11.30-4pm).
- Admission to the Royal Armouries is FREE.
- Admission charges apply to some events.
- Information line: 01329 233734
- Website: www.royalarmouries.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Royal Armouries is the national museum of arms and armour with sites at Fort Nelson, Leeds, HM Tower of London and Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
- To support the work of the Royal armouries; make a donation at justgiving.com
- The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business.