The Shorncliffe Trust is a registered charity, originally called The Shorncliffe Redoubt Preservation Society, set up by Christopher Shaw in 2006, changing to The Shorncliffe Trust in 2013.
Every donation that comes to the Trust, is used to promote our aims. We are a ‘work in progress’, striving to find innovative ways of raising funds and awareness, whilst promoting education. With your donation, we can begin to secure the future of the heritage.
As a registered charity, our aims include the preservation and conservation and development and improvement of features of historic interest at Shorncliffe with public amenities and the preservation of a site of historic interest. We aim to educate the public in the history of the military and the social impact of military history by the provision and maintenance of a heritage centre.
Why we began this mission
The site encompasses over 200 years of military, social and cultural history. The Trust intends to tell the story of Shorncliffe (and the men and women who trained and lived there) from its earliest days defending Britain against invasion, to its role in the birth of the modern army through the role of Sir John Moore, it’s extension through the Victorian period to the Edwardian and the First and Second World War and beyond to the modern-day role of the Brigade of Gurkha’s. We aim to mark this by securing buildings to create the Shorncliffe Experience and begin the task of regenerating the site as a world class heritage and education centre.
The Trust is fundraising to secure former military buildings; bringing them back into use as a Heritage and Education Centre, reference library, café and craft centre. Other imaginative re-use of buildings are proposed including transforming the Victorian Cast Iron Water Tower into a Camera Obscura offering unique 360° views of not only Shorncliffe and its training grounds, but wider Folkestone and the route to Europe which troops took during two World Wars. Incorporated into the building would be hi tech interactive features creating a unique visitor experience.
The new parkland created from 35 acres of former training ground includes the 200-year-old Napoleonic Redoubt, Victorian pistol & rifle range, WW1 trenches used for training and WW2 defences such as spigot mortar post, pillboxes and underground bunkers.
However, this can only succeed with help from our supporters and the will of the Developer and the local authority.
Help us save this historical site, the birthplace of the modern British Army
In 2013 the Ministry of Defence moved forward their plans to sell off part of Shorncliffe Camp and its training grounds. Their preferred purchaser is Taylor Wimpey who in 2016, commenced their programme of building up to 1200 homes on the site; by demolishing a great number of the original military buildings (excluding a small number of listed buildings and just two others to be retained for reuse)
The Trust had hoped to be involved in land management for the Redoubt and Back Door training area, creating the UK’s first Heritage Park. However, the Developer’s own management company is managing the land in perpetuity, treating the land as ‘open space’ for the new housing development.
Our Board of Trustees is concentrating on its fundraising efforts to secure one or more of the buildings to remain on the Shorncliffe Garrison site, in which to create the Heritage and Education Centre. The Trust also aspires to save the World War 1 Stables from demolition to create a visitor attraction with the War Horse Experience.
“Without horses to support the war effort in the First World War, the war would have been lost. They were vital to supplies, to the ambulance service, to the artillery, to the cavalry, and they died in their hundreds of thousands as the men, the same way too. Machine gun and shellfire, wire, exhaustion and disease. Shorncliffe contributed hugely to the war effort, providing veterinary attention and care alleviating the suffering. It is a place that played a significant part in the story of the First World War, and that is a story that must be told in all its aspects and passed onto the next generation”
War Horse Author; Michael Morpurgo