Gosport's historic Fort Brockhurst sees huge turnout for final summer open-day - with plans for festive events

A HISTORIC fort in Gosport has tripled visitor numbers across its summer open days as its final event of the year draws thousands – with plans for a range of festive events.

By Richard Lemmer
Sunday, 12th September 2021, 10:38 am
Pictured is: The Fort Cumberland gun crew.

Picture: Keith Woodland (110921-96)
Pictured is: The Fort Cumberland gun crew. Picture: Keith Woodland (110921-96)

Volunteers at the English Heritage site Fort Brockhurst welcomed more than 2,000 visitors on Saturday, with the Fort Cumberland Guard and the 13th Surrey Rifles re-enactment groups put on a range of displays.

It marks this summer’s third open-day where the public can enjoy the Victorian site for free, with 200 visitors attending the first event in July and 600 attending last month.

Jo Forbes, territory volunteer manager at English Heritage, said: ‘We’ve had an amazing day today.

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Pictured is: Queen Victoria with Ben Luckins, 7, Fern Shepherd, 6 and Zak Luckins, 4. Picture: Keith Woodland (110921-136)

‘We’ve had 2,000 or more visitors which is absolutely fantastic.

‘We’ve got lots of festive activities in the planning stage ready for Christmas and next year a lot more open days.

‘Next year, we’re hoping to open twice a month.

‘Of course, none of that could happen if it weren’t for our dedicated volunteer team here at the fort.’

Pictured is: Sue Heath dress as a Hussar with Gary Cool in a mixed uniform from the Victorian era. Picture: Keith Woodland (110921-126)

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The team at the fort aims to hold a festive craft fete on site on November 21, as well as another festive event in partnership with the Gosport Passport scheme.

Jo said: ‘We want to work with lots of community groups.’

Re-enactment group 13th Surrey Rifles would love to come back and hold a ‘big’ re-enactment event to wow a larger crowd, according to the group’s coordinator, James Dix.

Pictured is: Members of the 13th Surrey Rifles Picture: Keith Woodland (110921-110)

The Guildford resident said: ‘It’s a magnificent site – I’ve not been down here before, but I’m hoping to come again.

‘I think with the space and the facilities, there’s a lot of potential for an event. We’d definitely like to come back down, maybe bring more people down and some other groups, and put on a bigger performance.’

The open-days have been well-worth a trip out according to Gosport resident Jane Martin, visiting with her husband James and their one-year-old and three-year-old daughters.

Pictured is: Members of the Cumberland Guard chat with visitors. Picture: Keith Woodland (110921-176)

The 35-year-old said: ‘I came here as a kid – the open-days are a good idea. We would definitely come down again. The fort definitely could be used more.’

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