The Ordnance Society

Ordnance & Artillery of All Periods

Visits

If you would like to be informed automatically of ALL FUTURE Ordnance Society visits, then please click on the “Follow the Ordnance Society” button under “FOLLOW THE ORDNANCE SOCIETY BY E-MAIL” in the right-hand column.  This ensures that all “NEWS” items will be e-mailed to you as soon as they appear on the web-site and these will include brief notes about future visits as well as all the other “NEWS” items.

Our Visits Secretary, Neil Grant also organises visits for Friends of the Tank Museum and other groups, so the number and variation of trips has increased considerably. The numbers for a visit will often have a maximum, so please ensure that you use the automatic notification method outlined above in order to apply in good time.

Please note that Ordnance Society reserves the right to refuse any visit applications, particularly where access to or within the visit site are restricted.


 

ORDNANCE SOCIETY VISITS 2020

 

The list of our visits and activities for the year are below. Spaces on some of the events are limited, so if you are interested in attending any of these events, please contact neilgrant2@yahoo.co.uk. 

 

There are a couple of events (in blue) which will happen this year, but we’re still waiting confirmation of the dates. We’ve indicated when we hope these will happen, but they depend on the dates we are given by third parties and may change. We’ll try to update this as soon as the dates are finalised.

 

There are also some additional events at the bottom of the page (in gold) which only have a limited number of places and will only be organised once we know how many people are interested.  We will then arrange dates that suit those people.

 

British Museum Exhibition “Troy: Myth & Reality” (16 Feb, £22)

This is the British Museum’s big annual winter exhibition for 19/20, with loans from other major museums. Under 16s get in free with a ticket holder. Based on previous exhibitions, assume it’ll take 2-3 hours.

 

Army Small Arms School (28 Feb, suggested donation)

A guided tour around the army’s own gun collection, which contains examples of pretty much every weapon the army has issued, tested or captured since the 1870s.  Even better, it’s a working collection, not a museum, so there unless something goes wrong, there will also be a handling session with some of the weapons.

 

Royal Armouries, Leeds (11 March, Parking charge)

The Royal Armouries holds the national collection of weapons and armour, from medieval times to the present, as well as extensive oriental collections. This gets us a guided tour from one of the trustees, focusing on the medieval to early modern collections, plus costumed interpreters and fight reconstructions

 

Wells cathedral – chained libraries & mad attics (20 March, £20)

A guided tour of one of the last medieval chained libraries in the morning, then a guided tour of normally inaccessible “behind the scenes” areas of the cathedral, including the roof spaces to see surviving medieval mason’s drafting floors and the singing gallery

 

Axe & Knife Throwing Workshop (5 April, £35)

A half-day session learning to throw tomahawks, axes and throwing knives, located near Bath.  No previous experience is necessary, and the session will be tailored to the people attending, so if you want you can concentrate on axes or whatever

 

Defence Academy Shrivenham (Hopefully April 2019, suggested donation)

This includes guided tours of the artillery hall and the armoured vehicle hall at the defence academy, which contain excellent representative collections of British and foreign equipment

 

Western-style Carbine shooting (19 April, £30)

A chance to shoot full bore western style lever action carbines at an indoor range in Birmingham.  The session starts on .22 semi-automatics to teach the basics, before switching to the full bore (.357 & .44) carbines.   Ammunition is included; you will get around 40-50 shots, with a variety of weapons.

 

Stonehenge Stone Circle Special Access (26 April, £15)

This is one of two annual special stone circle access trip that allows a limited number of people inside the rope barriers around the monument, and into the circle itself.  We get an hour inside the circle for photography etc, and there will be a short, optional talk pointing out some features not normally visible from outside the circle. Note that we aren’t running this at sunrise this year, which gives a less ridiculously early start, and means we can visit the exhibition in the visitor centre afterwards.

 

Indoor Skydiving (16 May, £73)

This basically uses a wind tunnel standing on its end, with fans powerful enough to suspend you in the air as if you are flying. You start by learning to hold a stable position, then you will be shown how to manoeuvre yourself within the air column and even do aerobatic manoeuvres. The package includes 4 sessions in the tube, each roughly as long as a freefall from 18,000 feet

 

Tudor Cookery Workshop (Hopefully May, £60)

A day in a 16th century farmhouse with a historic food expert, learning to cook Tudor recipes with reproduction utensils. The morning is spent cooking an authentic Tudor meal for your lunch, then the afternoon is spent producing things you can take home, including “Marchepain” (Tudor marzipan) and gingerbread. Note that this is not the same as the Tudor Baking day we ran last year      

 

D-Day Story & Southsea Castle (24 May, £10)

A visit to the D-day story museum in Portsmouth, full of items related to (unsurprisingly) D-day, including the huge Overlord embroidery. We then walk across to the Tudor Southsea Castle, originally built as an artillery fort in 1544 by Henry VIII as part of his scheme of coast defence, and refurbished during the Napoleonic wars.

 

Flint Knapping & Stone Tool Making (13 June, £80)

A day with an experimental archaeologist, learning the oldest craft in the world – knapping flint to make a variety of prehistoric stone tools that you can take home at the end of the day

 

Vickers Machine Gun Collection (20 June, £10)

A definite must for anyone with an interest in the Great War, this gives us an afternoon of hands-on access to a very extensive collection of…well, pretty much everything to do with these iconic weapons.  The visit will include a talk and handling, and may (no promises) include setting up a Vickers and demonstrating it using blank ammunition

 

Cobbaton Combat Collection (12 July, £9)

A visit to a private military museum in Devon, with a collection of 50+ WW2 and post-war armoured and softskin vehicles plus smaller items, including small arms and “Home Front” exhibits.

 

Fort Nelson (19 July, Parking charge only)

Fort Nelson is one of the Victorian forts built to protect the vital Portsmouth dockyards from the landward side, and now holds the artillery collections of the Royal Armouries – everything from medieval cannon to railway guns.  This session includes a guided tour of the fort and the collection, including firing demonstration of several artillery pieces.

 

Crofton Beam Engines (26 July, £8)

A visit to the Victorian static steam engines near Marlborough, which pumped water for the Kennet & Avon canal on a day when the engines are in steam

 

REME museum & reserve collection (Hopefully 8 Aug, £13)

A trip to the REME museum at Lyneham. The morning is spent in a tour of the regular museum, which holds a number of specialist armoured vehicles and recovery vehicles. In the afternoon, we get to visit the additional vehicles in the reserve collection, which is not normally open to the public.

 

Vintage Bus to Imber Restricted Village (15 August (provisional), pay on day)

In 1943, the village of Imber (near Warminster) was requisitioned for military training.  The civilian population was never able to return after the war, and the village continued to be used for urban combat training.  As it is in the middle of a restricted military area, it is not normally accessible except for one day a year, when a special service runs trips out to it in vintage red routemaster double decker buses. Note the date above is provisional, and will be confirmed after Easter

 

Battle Archery (23 Aug, £35)

This is effectively the archery equivalent of paintball – after a short practise session, teams of players are equipped with fencing masks and safety tipped arrows to take part in tactical skirmishes where they shoot, dodge and reload while moving from cover to cover, attempting to eliminate the other team

 

Avebury, Silbury & West Kennet (6 September 2019, Free)

A guided tour of these related Neolithic monuments in Wiltshire.  Note that this visit will involve a certain amount of walking

 

Vulcan Bomber Cockpit Experience (12 September, £20)

A chance to get on board one of the most iconic British cold war aircraft.  We get a walk around the aircraft with the ground crew, who will talk us through how to arm, fuel and maintain the aircraft.  We will then see the aircraft being powered up from ground power, so we can see control surfaces move, open the bomb bay doors etc.  Finally, we get into the cockpit for a talk from former air crew about flying the aircraft operationally.

 

Stonehenge Stone Circle Special Access (13 Sept, £15)

This is one of two annual special stone circle access trip that allows a limited number of people inside the rope barriers around the monument, and into the circle itself.  We get an hour inside the circle for photography etc, and there will be a short, optional talk pointing out some features not normally visible from outside the circle. Note that we aren’t running this at sunrise this year, which gives a less ridiculously early start, and means we can visit the exhibition in the visitor centre afterwards.

 

Bronze Age Axe Casting (3 October, £100)

A pay with an experimental archaeologist learning to make a mould from clay, melt the metal using period technology and then cast your own bronze axe that you can finish by removing the flash and take away at the end of the day

 

Tank Driving Day (10 October,  £175)

Pretty much what it says on the tin – you get to drive four different military vehicles – a Chieftain tank, Abbott self-propelled gun, Stormer load carrier and FV432 APC.  Near Winchester, no prior experience necessary

 

Oxford castle (10 October, £12.50)

Oxford castle was inaccessible to the public for a long time, as it was within what was then oxford prison. Now it is open to the public, and this gets us a guided tour including climbing to the top of the tower with panoramic views over oxford, descending to the crypt chapel and touring the Georgian and Victorian prison cells. Note that there are a lot of stairs on this trip

 

British Museum Exhibition “Thomas Becket: Saint & Martyr” (22 Nov, £20)

This is the British Museum’s big annual winter exhibition for 20/21, with loans from other major museums. Under 16s get in free with a ticket holder. Based on previous exhibitions, assume it’ll take 2-3 hours.

 

Drive a Steam Train (TBA, Starting at £180)

Pretty much what it says on the tin – you get to drive a steam train on a heritage railway. There are several versions of this event; essentially, the more you pay the longer you get to drive, and the more other stuff you get to do. Note that on some versions, you get to drive the train for part of the run, and act as fireman for the rest, so ensure you are picking something that suits you. As these events only accommodate a small number of people, we’ll arrange these on dates that suit the people who want to do them.

 

Artistic Blacksmithing Day (TBA, £140)

This is a basic blacksmithing course with no prior experience required, run near Marlborough.  As part of the course, you will make a metal ornament of your own design, hence the “artistic” label, to distinguish it from farriery or bladesmithing type blacksmith work.  As the work is fairly small scale, no particular physical strength is required.

 

Visit to the French tank Museum, Saumur (TBA, circa £500)

This will probably be a long weekend trip – travel down one day, two full days at the museum with an English-speaking guide and travel back on the last day.  The price will include travel, hotels, admission and guide.  We’re still in the planning process on this, and much will depend on how many people want to go, but it is likely to be toward the end of the year.

 


 A list of past Ordnance Society visits is at the bottom of this page.

O.S. Visit to DEODS April 2008

O.S. Visit to DEODS April 2008

O.S. at DEODS April 2008

O.S. at DEODS April 2008 – with Grand-Slam

Ordnance Soc visit3

Close Inspection of a 105mm HOW – Warminster

PAST ORDNANCE SOCIETY VISITS

The relevant Newsletter which contains a description of these visits can be found in the Subject Index under ‘Society Meetings and Visit Reports’

A.W.E. Aldermaston 2015
BAE Systems, Barrow-in-Furness 2001
Birmingham Gun-Barrel Proof House 2007
Boscombe Down 2002
Bovington and Holton Heath 1996
(I) Calais, Todt Battery & V3 Site 1998
(II) Calais, V2 Sites 2000
Day In Essex (Coalhouse Fort and Tilbury Fort) 2002
Dover & Dover Turret 1994
Eskmeals and Kirkcudbright 1997
Fort Amherst & R.E.M.E. Museum, Chatham 2009
Fort Halstead 1992
Fort Nelson, Portsmouth 2003
Helicopter Museum, Weston Super Mare 2017
Kineton, B.O.D. 1993
Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Museum 2016
Mary Rose, Behind the Scenes, Portsmouth 2015
Naval Ordnance Museum, Priddy’s Hard (now ‘EXPLOSION‘) 1991
Ordnance Disposal School & Museum, Chattenden 1990
P & EE, Lavington 1994
P & EE, Pendine 1994
Pattern Room, Nottingham 1991
(I) P.E.E. Shoeburyness 1990
(II) P.E.E. Shoeburyness 1992
Portsmouth Dockyard 1995
Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst 2016
(I) Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham 1991
(II) Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham 1992
(III) Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham 1996
Rotunda, Museum of Artillery 1989
Thames Forts boat trip 1998
Waltham Abbey, Royal Gunpowder Mills 1999
Warminster and Larkhill 1992
Warminster Small Arms School Corps Weapons Collection 2008
Western Rifle Shooting 2017
Whale Island, Portsmouth 2003
Whitechapel Bell Foundry 2017
Woolwich Experience, Arsenal, Rotunda, RA Barracks, RA Academy 1999

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