About Fort Amherst

Trust

 

Profile of the Fort Amherst Heritage Trust.

The Fort Amherst Heritage Trust (FAHT) was formed in April 1998, as a charitable company limited by Guarantee (charity number 1102399, company number 4362306).

The Trust was the successor of the Fort Amherst & Lines Trust which was itself established as a charitable Trust in 1981. In April 2010 FAHT merged with Medway Historical Ordnance a separate Charity which had been established to preserve and maintain the Fort’s nationally important collection of historical ordnance. The amalgamation reduced costs and promoted efficiency and a stronger organisation in support of both Trusts objectives and aims.

FAHT inherited from FALT its principal objectives which are;

“Acquiring, restoring, maintaining, safeguarding and preserving the historical fortifications known as Fort Amherst and the Lines in the City of Rochester-Upon Medway and the Borough of Gillingham in the county of Kent and making the same available for research and for the educational and recreational viewing and use by the public.”

As a result of local government reorganisation the whole of Fort Amherst now lies within the boundaries of the Medway Unitary Authority which was established in 1997.

FAHT owns the freehold of almost the entire site of 20 acres with the exception of a narrow strip of land which is leased from Medway Council to allow for boundary management.

The site is a scheduled ancient monument having been designated in 1959 (1003364 known as Brompton Lines).

The Trust has seven current Trustees who each serve for a three-year period on rotation, when they must be reappointed at the Trust’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The FAHT operates on a committee based structure with a number of Limited Company Boards and sub committees who report to the main Trust Executive for strategic overview and accountability. In addition each Trustee has areas of delegated responsibility which they carry out and are required to present a written report to each Trust meeting, outlining their activities.

The Trust has an elected Chairman and Vice Chairman, appointed on a yearly basis at the AGM.

There are a small number of part time staff employed in the Fort`s café and visitor centre. The Trust also employ a part time Volunteer Supervisor and retain the services of a part time consultant on a self-employed basis to undertake the Marketing and PR function for the Trust.

For all other operations the FAHT is dependant on volunteers. There is a body of around 45 volunteers who perform a wide variety of functions in order to maintain and operate the Fort as a public amenity.

The volunteers are drawn from a wide spectrum of society of all ages and both genders.

There are also particular groups within the volunteer body such as a mental health service user groups and socially disadvantaged groups such as the disabled, unemployed and young offenders. The Trust has developed a culture of social responsibility and integration with the community in which it is located.

The majority of the Fort Amherst site is open to the public on a free to enter basis throughout the year. There are charges made for tours of the Tunnel Complex and specialist events and functions which operate throughout the year. The Fort forms part of a larger area of land known as the Great Lines Heritage Park, which includes the rest of the Chatham Lines Fortifications and the former field of fire for the Fort known as the Great Lines. These areas of land are owned by Medway Council, the Ministry of Defence and the Lower Lines Trust.

Trustee Profiles

 

Trustees as of September 2017.

Les Snowdon (Chairman), former senior bank employee. Manages the Fort’s Office and administration. Responsible for overseeing Events & Weddings, financial governance and human resources. Principle areas of focus are building a sustainable business and improving customer experience, therefore, ensuring the Fort’s continued restoration and development as a public amenity.

Steve Quinton (Vice Chairman), Project manager for a construction and civil engineering company. Brings expertise in construction management, health & safety and project management. Principle interests, historical structures, underground research. Managing restoration projects on the Fort and overseeing the building and repair of gun carriages.

Dave Moorman, (Treasurer), Director of Spec Savers in Medway. Dave brings expertise to the Trust in retail management, human resource management and governance. Principle interests are local and military history, maintaining the independence of FAHT, whilst also seeking greater co-operation with other similar bodies.

Glenn Robinson, self employed businessman, principle interests are maintaining the fabric of Fort Amherst with responsibility for licences in respect of explosives and fire arms (Ordnance Collection) and promoting the site as a centre of re-enactor excellence and living history.

Edmund Gulvin, Self Employed Tree Surgeon. Principle interests are the maintenance of the Forts grounds and acts as the Designated Premises Supervisor, holding the Fort’s licences in respect of operating as a public licensed premises. Responsible for delivery of the Halloween business.

Keith Gulvin, part time university lecturer and consultant. Principle interests are research and publication of the history of Fort Amherst and associated works, management of heritage and archive collections. Fundraiser for capital projects. Only remaining founder member of the original Fort Amherst Trust.

Peter Snowdon, Retired senior bank HR Manager. Principle areas of focus are overseeing the maintenance and grounds teams as well as developing links with other local employers.  Responsible for the Trust's Governance and Strategy.

Jim Bennett, Retired Electrician. Responsbilities include installation, maintenance and repair of all electrical equipment, including alarms, IT systems and CCTV to ensure the safety of all visitors, volunteers and staff.

 

 

Mission, Vision and Aims

The Mission

The mission of Fort Amherst Heritage Trust is to restore and protect Fort Amherst and develop it as a premier heritage and leisure attraction.

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Origins of Fort Amherst

In 1667 the Dutch raided the River Medway and attacked Chatham’s Royal Dockyard.  During the devastating attack, thirteen ships were destroyed and two were taken including the flagship of the fleet, the ‘Royal Charles’.  At that point in time there were no defences protecting the Dockyard against a land based attack; and the raid by the Dutch led to a review of the defences protecting this important site.  As well as improved defence of the River Medway, the review included proposals to protect the landward side of the Dockyard which would also serve to disrupt an invasion party heading towards London.  This is where the story of Fort Amherst and Chatham Lines begins.

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Modern History

During WWII the tunnels were utilised by the Anti-Invasion Planning Unit and Civil Defence, who used a section as their headquarters.  This is where Civil Defence was co-ordinated for the North Kent area in the event of bombing as well as support and assistance to the general public after such an incident.  A section of the tunnels has been reconstructed into the Civil Defence HQ as it was in 1939.

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Volunteering

Fort Amherst is staffed principally by volunteers and there are many opportunities to use your skills in a number of different areas. 

The Fort has over 20 acres of land; half of this has been restored and maintained.  Maintaining this land is a continuous job that requires a dedicated team of volunteers with an interest in working outside clearing vegetation, restoring brickwork, general maintenance, and generally keeping the site as tidy as possible. As well as this we have 10 acres of unrestored land which needs to be cared for with a longer term plan to fully restore it in the future. 

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Volunteer FAQs

What age do I have to be?

•    In general there is no minimum or maximum age provided you are making a useful contribution and that the activities you are undertaking are suitable for your age and there is no legal minimum age requirement for the task i.e. driving.
•    If you are under 18 your parent or legal guardian must give permission for you to volunteer and you must be supervised by an adult and not left alone.  As we cannot guarantee to always provide supervision this may mean that younger people are unable to volunteer without the company of their parent or guardian.

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Human Resources

There are many opportunities here at Fort Amherst for volunteers to help us with the ongoing work required to keep this important historic site open to the public, free of charge, throughout the year. In addition we have a small number of paid roles within our events and catering teams. Details of any vacancies at the Fort will be advertised here.  

PAID STAFF VACANCIES: We currently have no paid staff vacancies - but keep checking back as they will be posted here as and when they are available. 

VOLUNTEERING VACANCIES: We currently have volunt?eering vacancies - please Eemail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details. 

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

 

Command of the Heights – press release

 

Chatham will soon be at the centre of archaeological exploration and heritage regeneration project following a cash injection of almost £1.8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), thanks to National Lottery players.

Medway Council together with Fort Amherst Heritage Trust, have been successful in securing the funding to help the area reconnect with its military roots and discover secrets from the past.

This is the second round of HLF funding the project, named Command of the Heights, has received. In June 2015, £214,000 was awarded to develop the project plans which can now be turned into reality thanks to the latest grant.

The huge project will include the careful demolition of Riverside One, which sits within the walls of the historically important Barrier Ditch. The Ditch was built during the Seven Years War (1754-1763) and it ran from where Riverside One currently stands and across into Fort Amherst. It was a critical part of the defences - an un-scalable ditch and embankment which dramatically divided the military and civilian areas of Chatham. During the restoration process, it is expected that cannons and other military items could be discovered buried beneath the surface.

Command of the Heights will also see the creation of a new entrance to Fort Amherst from Chatham town centre as well as the restoration of the Spur Battery - the highest part of Chatham within Fort Amherst once used for troop encampments, siege warfare training and military punishment. This will be transformed into an amphitheatre with seating to allow for outdoor performances, and the restoration of this area will also open up even more public green space at Great Lines Heritage Park.

Throughout the project there will be many opportunities to learn about the heritage of Chatham including the history behind Gun Wharf (Medway Council HQ), which was the original location of the Tudor Dockyard. A busy programme of activities will encourage the public to get involved in events such as community archaeology, cataloguing of the large ordnance collection, performances in the amphitheatre and much more.

Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this exciting new project will restore Fort Amherst, reconnect it with the waterfront, and help join the dots for locals and visitors alike on the unique story of Chatham’s significant military heritage.”

Works will begin in January 2018 and are expected to be complete by June 2020. Command of the Heights will extend and complement the HLF funded Command of the Oceans programme running at the Historic Dockyard, Chatham.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Inward Investment, Strategic Regeneration and Partnerships Cllr Rodney Chambers said: “I am pleased we have been successful in securing funding for what is going to be an exciting project in Chatham. There is a lot to learn about the area’s military and naval history, and through Command of the Heights we hope to capture the imagination of Medway residents and those from further afield.

“This project also ties in nicely to our Battle of Medway commemorations taking place in June. Fort Amherst was built to defend Chatham and the river following the Battle of Medway in 1667 when the Dutch launched a daring and successful assault on the British upon the River Medway. We’ll be commemorating 350 year since that embarrassing defeat in a big way, it’s a dark and often forgotten time in Medway’s naval history.”

Les Snowdon, Chair of the Fort Amherst Heritage Trust said: “This grant will enable the Trust to realise a long held ambition to open the Spur Battery to the public and at the same time provide for the people of the Medway towns an exciting new outdoor performing arts arena.

“Our trustees, staff and volunteers are looking forward to the opportunities that this brings to the Fort, as reconnecting the barrier ditch to the River Medway restores both physically and historically our close relationship to both the river and the dockyard that the Fort was built to protect.

“We hope that many local people will be as excited by this announcement as we are and will want to become involved with the project. As a volunteer run organisation the Fort is always pleased to hear from potential volunteers who would be interested in joining our team maintaining the site, working in events or in our busy on site cafe. We are also keen to hear from people that may be interested in joining our board of trustees to help us deliver the Command of the Heights programme.’

Notes to editors:

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

Visitor Information

Opening Times: The parkland grounds of Fort Amherst are open free of charge 7 days a week (upper part of site with pedestrian access only between Brompton and the Great Lines Heritage Park) from dawn to dusk. The lower area is open from 9am until 7pm daily. Please check our events diary or call for possible tunnel/site/café closures before visiting to avoid disappointment. 

Tunnel Tours: During the Summer our Tunnel Tours take place twice daily at 11am and 2pm. During the Winter our Tunnel Tours take place at 11am only. 

PLEASE NOTE THERE WILL BE NO TUNNEL TOURS FROM MONDAY 25TH SEPT 2017 UNTIL SUNDAY 19TH NOV 2017 DUE TO OUR HALLOWEEN HORRORS EVENTS. TOURS WILL RECOMMENCE ON MONDAY 20TH NOV 2017 AT 11.00 A.M. ONLY.

THERE WILL BE NO TUNNEL TOUR ON THURSDAY 14TH DECEMBER DUE TO A LARGE SCHOOL GROUP ATTENDING THE FORT

Please check our 'Tunnel Tours' section or call for possible additional tunnel closures before visiting to avoid disappointment.

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Car Parking

Car Parking at Fort Amherst (except during certain events)

Available Monday - Friday on a full or part time basis

Fort Amherst is offering the opportunity for members of the public to purchase commuter car parking at the Fort either on a monthly or a daily basis. A monthly pass for parking Monday - Friday is charged at £40.00 per month, payable in advance by direct debit.  For those who would like parking at the Fort for part of the week only, we offer a monthly pass for 1 day per week for £10.00 or 2 days per week at £20.00 etc. In addition there is a one off administration charge of £10.00 to cover the cost of issuing your pass.

Daily paid parking is still available on a first come first served basis and there are only a limited number of spcaes. However, please be advised that a space is not guaranteed and that the charge is £3.00 per day.

If you are interested in taking a car parking place at the Fort, please contact the office by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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  1. Volunteer Charter

Subcategories

  • Vacancies

    There are many opportunities here at Fort Amherst for volunteers to help us with the ongoing work required to keep this important historic site open to the public, free of charge, throughout the year. In addition we have a small number of paid roles within our events and catering teams. Details of any vacancies at the Fort will be advertised here.   

    VOLUNTEERING VACANCIES: To volunteer for any of the below vacancies please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    PAID STAFF VACANCIES: To apply for the below vacancy please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.