Nearly 40 people braved wind and rain to go on the Solent Protection Society visit to Hurst Castle. After meeting at Lymington a 45 minute ferry trip brought them to the landing stage in the harbour in Keyhaven, just behind the Castle.
Disembarking at Hurst: Photo Colin Brown
The Castle has a long and chequered history. It was the perfect location to defend the western approach to the Solent. The castle was built by Henry VIII as one of a chain of coastal fortresses and was completed in 1544. Charles I was imprisoned here in 1648 before being taken to London to his trial and execution. The castle was modernised during the Napoleonic wars and again in the 1870’s when the enormous armoured wings were constructed. Two of the huge 38-ton guns installed in the 1870’s can be viewed in their casemates. During World War II, Hurst was manned with coastal gun batteries and Searchlights. Since the castle has been opened to the public many more exhibits and exhibitions have been installed.
On the battlements photo: Colin Brown
The old tower Photo: Sarah Fremantle
Having landed and taken a conducted tour of the historic parts of the Castle, the SPS members were treated to an extensive buffet lunch in the garrison theatre.
Garrison theatre Phot: Graham Rabbitts
A new Lighthouse related Museum
Anyone interested in lighthouses, museums, or the heritage of the Solent area will find fascinating the new museum extension recently opened by the Association of Lighthouse Keepers (ALK) at Hurst Castle. Beautiful lighthouse lenses, lighthouse artefacts, a lighthouse interior reconstruction, and large information boards detailing the Needles lighthouse. SPS had been impressed by the effort put in by ALK and its members to create the new displays.
Conservation award from Solent Protection Society
Presenting the SPS Conservation Award to the President of ALK. Photo Graham Rabbitts
The qualities that led the Solent Protection Society to grant a Conservation Award to the ALK Museum at Hurst Castle were the dedication, ingenuity and perseverance of a small number of skilled and enthusiastic ALK volunteers. Lights, lenses and artefacts were found or borrowed, interactive exhibits from other museums were acquired and also a full size replica of a portion of the Kitchen in the Needles lighthouse has been constructed. In the replica, the 1850s furniture that would have been in the Needles lighthouse when it was built in 1859, has been faithfully recreated with many parts being specially made to suit. To contain a vast number of artefacts that the ALK acquired from ALK member a redundant conservatory was cannibalised to make a superb display case.
To contact the ALK visit http://www.alk.org.uk