Fort Nelson is one of a chain of fortifications built in the 1860s to protect the naval harbour and Royal Dockyard of Portsmouth from feared French invasion. The fort is a Grade I listed structure and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. These days it provides a home for the Royal Armouries’ collections of historic artillery — one of the finest such collections in the world. We provided a multi-disciplinary service for the remodelling of some gallery spaces, a new gallery building, a new admissions complex and a car park.
Heritage Lottery funding had been secured to develop facilities to cater for the rising number of visitors to site, and to extend and improve the galleries for exhibits. The new admissions complex is located on the former site of the visitor car park, and its circular concrete shallow-domed structure is buried in the landscape. Included in the complex are a visitor centre, a shop and a café with a terrace.
The new gallery is a double-height timber-framed structure constructed alongside the original barracks, the exposed brick walls of which it shares. It is designed to accommodate large exhibits from the 'Voice of the Guns' gallery. Within the Fort, various gallery spaces have been remodelled. In the Redan building, a new area called the 'Classroom of the Future' has been created.
The whole project called upon the services of our structural, conservation, building services, geotechnical, transport, road and infrastructure engineers, as well as our archaeologists, heritage consultants and ecologists. Fort Nelson remained open to the public throughout construction.