Military => Camps & Barracks => Topic started by: kyn on May 21, 2009, 14:53:50

Title: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on May 21, 2009, 14:53:50
1806
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on May 23, 2009, 07:12:03
Look at all those gun embrasures! 16 of them on just that section of the line - and that's only the ones that are shown. I would expect some flanking galleries to sweep the ditch bottom as well.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 12, 2010, 23:16:19
Some close-ups to come  :)
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 14, 2010, 11:15:16
This section is to the left of the above plan, along the track at the bottom left.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 15, 2010, 11:26:00
 :)
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: TowerWill on April 15, 2010, 12:30:05
I like old coloured plans like these Kyn.Without looking up elsewhere about these barracks,are they still standing?
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 15, 2010, 12:35:36
They are not, houses and flats have replaced them.  Some of the victorian workings on the bastion's still remain from behind these though and can be seen in the Lower Lines Park.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: TowerWill on April 15, 2010, 15:30:06
Shame most of it's gone. We've had similar destruction of historical sites in Dover over the years.Going by merc's print the Victorians weren't over bothered with preserving either, even if the Lines were obsolete by then.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 15, 2010, 16:06:29
At least with the sieges they repaired the walls again, but I really would have liked to see these barracks.  They had an interesting history with being overflow from Fort Pitt Hospital too.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: TowerWill on April 15, 2010, 22:57:49
Yes, repairing the walls would have given the troops some good training if they were the ones that did it. Passing the remains of Fort Pitt in the mid 1960's intrigued me so i nipped through the fence and had a quick look at what was left.That would have been where the blockhouse once was i suppose.A schoolmate and me did get into the Prince William barracks near Fort Amherst(i think i've got the right place) a year or so earlier but we never explored much further down the lines.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 15, 2010, 23:50:07
It must be about time you had a return trip  :)  A gentle walk around the unrestored area of Fort Amherst is always on the cards if I am there!
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: TowerWill on April 16, 2010, 08:01:18
Yes that would be an interesting experience Kyn.I would say that would be a two tablet job with my particular problems!Wasn't a newspaper offering reduced rate trips around the fort and undeveloped areas a couple of years back?Are the Lines unbroken down to where St. Mary's Barracks were or has there been infilling etc?
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 16, 2010, 11:25:37
I do not know about any offers the papers have given out, I have only been involved dow there for about 18 months.

The ditches run reasonable unchanged as far as Sally Port Gardens, from here they have been infilled for a short distance.  They start again in MoD land and are mostly remaining apart from a small section running under Khyber Road whiuch has been infilled.  The whole of the end of the lines have been lost with the construction of the Naval Barracks, Kitchener Barracks.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 16, 2010, 13:21:14
 :)
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 19, 2010, 13:10:24
 :)
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 21, 2010, 10:03:28
 :)
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 27, 2010, 10:18:58
 :)
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on May 04, 2010, 22:06:11
Proposed guns at the barracks.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on May 24, 2010, 16:21:51
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/DSCF2982Small.jpg)
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on February 09, 2011, 04:16:03
St Mary's Barracks c. 1870
(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5172/5430135292_abb3f7237e_z.jpg)

Photograph reproduced by permission of the Royal Engineers Museum www.re-museum.co.uk
Larger versions here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22124479@N03/5430135292/in/photostream/

St. Mary’s Barracks were built between 1779 and 1782 to house convicts and prisoners who built the fort and worked in its associated brickfields. These later became known as St. Mary’s Barracks and remained in use until their demolition in the 1960s.

St Mary's Barracks were occupied by Infantry to 1881, then by the R.E. Ballon Establishment and Submarine Miners. From 1893 to 1925 it was occupied by the R.E. Service Bn or Depot, then by miscellaneous R.E. and other units. It was taken over by the R.N. in 1941.

That about exhausts my knowledge, but I'm sure someone here will know much more.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on February 16, 2011, 00:16:26
I was looking through an account of Queen Victoria's visits to wounded soldiers in Brompton in 1855-6 (victims of the Crimean War) and from that it seems the Casemated Barracks were used for convalescent soldiers at that time. It also seems that both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were both unimpressed with the state of them.  Here are the relevant passages from “A few brief Anecdotes connected with Her Majesty’s visit to the Hospitals at Chatham, 1855-6, written by G. R. Dartnell, D.I.G.H.”

From Brompton she drove to St. Mary’s, where she inspected upwards of six hundred convalescents drawn up in line. The answers of some of the men to her questions, and their mode of address often amused her, as for instance, one, in replying would say – “Oh, yes ma’am!” another would say “Oh no, miss, Your Majesty, I mean,” or “Your Highness,” the poor fellows were so confused that they said, as often as not saying no for yes or vice versa. One man, asked a question by Lord Hardinge, and in the confusion of his thoughts addressed him as “Your Majesty!” The Queen heard this, turned to his Lordship and laughed.

After inspecting the men on the ground the Queen and party walked across to see the Casemate Barracks, about which so much has been said and written of late. She went into one or two of the upper rooms and was quite horrified at them. “Are these really the barrack rooms of these Invalids?” she said to me: I said, “Yes indeed they are your Majesty” And Prince Albert, looking over towards the the splendid Convict Prison recently built in view of the Casemate Barracks, said “Well it seems very extraordinary that there should be no difficulty in obtaining money to erect a magnificent building like this for convicts, and that it should be impossible to find the means of building a commonly comfortable Barrack for convalescent soldiers.”
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on June 14, 2011, 14:34:30
I was just looking through part of the 1871 Census and noticed the entry for "St Mary Barracks And Brompton Huts, Chatham, Gillingham."  I'm presuming Brompton Huts refers to the Hut Barracks that were replaced in 1872-4 with the RE Institute (so this record probably shows the last troops to occupy that site).

The regiment stationed across the two barracks at this time were the 2nd Battalion 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers (plus a corporal and a private from the 6th Dragoon Guards). One thing I did find of interest was the number of women and girls (wives, daughters and servants) living in the barracks. Of the 864 people recorded, 115 were female, a little over 13% of the population.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: merc on July 19, 2011, 21:27:38
March 8, 1856

St Mary's Barracks Reading Room

A library is now being set up for the invalids in one of the rooms in the Upper Gallery. About 800 volumes of historical and miscelleneous works have been provided. Book shelves are to be arranged on each side with a table extending down the centre. The apartment will be lighted with gas. The heads of the different departments of the Garrison have been anxious for the new library and hope numbers of the invalids to remain quietly in barracks instead of passing their time so unprofitably in the town.

Source: The Illustrated London News.

Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on July 20, 2011, 15:51:56
I have an original copy of the article Merc quotes from above, so I thought I'd add the illustration and supply a copy of the full article.

(http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6150/5958069530_7f082206a9_b.jpg)

This engraving, entitled "Soldier's Reading-room, St. Mary's Barracks, Chatham" appeared in the Illustrated London News of Saturday 8th March 1856. The accompanying article reads:

SOLDIERS' READING-ROOM, ST. MARY'S BARRACKS, CHATHAM.
THIS extended line of Barracks was built during the Peninsular War, and was first used to accommodate the French prisoners: here it was so many expressed their sense of the great consideration shown them by the Government of this country. When the barracks ceased to be in requisition for the above purpose they underwent material alteration, and, after being rendered bomb-proof were converted into extensive powder magazines, continuing to be used as such for many years. Being at a considerable distance from the other buildings occupied by troops, and great inconvenience arising from this cause, detached powder magazines, more compact and contiguous to the different stations, were erected; when St. Mary's Barracks were used as stores for the Royal Engineers. As our Indian territory increased a corresponding supply of well-trained young men from the Provisional Battalion became necessary; in consequence of which. during one period of the year especially, the entire space of Chatham Barracks was required for this additional influx, and then it was thought expedient to appropriate a part of St. Mary's for the reception of such regiments as might arrive from foreign stations, or as a temporary barrack for a part of the Provisional Battalion instead of sending them to Canterbury.
The annual return of between three and four thousand soldiers from India and the British Colonies - who, either from impaired health, or, having served their full term, were considered exempt from further active service - induced the authorities to decide upon St. Mary's Barracks as the fittest place for them, and since the year 1844 they have been exclusively set apart for the temporary quarters of such previous to their final disposal.
The situation of St. Mary's Barracks is remarkable for salubrity of air, and the surrounding scenery is exceedingly picturesque. On the east, the river Medway extends as far as the eye can reach, studded with numbers of men of-war, and enlivened by the constant passing of vessels. Towards the south, the rich valley of Gillingham and Rainham presents a pleasing view, which, during summer and autumn, is rendered still more attractive by its numerous cherry and apple orchards. On the west, Upna Castle, with it surrounding panoramic scenery, and the river in the foreground, invariably offers a pleasing prospect. Indeed, St. Mary's Invalid Barracks, standing on a light loamy soil, within the line of fortifications, are capable, with their many natural advantages, of being rendered by a little taste a most desirable station.
St. Mary's Barracks have, of late, been a place of special interest, they having been the receptacle of so many thousands of men - some, after a long and honourable career, to return to the place of their birth, carrying with them the rewards of merit; some, less fortunate, to whom loss of health in a tropical clime has proved a barrier to their promotion; and last, though not least, the fearful number of the wounded, whose military career has been arrested by those many casualties war so necessarily entails. The Barracks have lately been honoured with the visits - first of his Royal highness Prince Albert, when he became a spectator of the mode of attack, scaling of walls, hand•grenading, and the explosion of mines, attending a siege; and next by that of her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen to such of her brave army as returned invalided from the seat of war.
For the use of the invalids in the Barracks, a Library is now being fitted up in one of the rooms of the Upper Gallery, and will form a most important feature of attraction to the soldiers, and a general acquisition to these Barracks. About 800 volumes of historical and miscellaneous works have already been provided. Bookshelves are to be arranged on each side, a table extending down the centre, and the apartment will be lighted with gas. The heads of the different departments of the garrison have been very anxious for this important object; and it will, doubtless, be a great inducement for numbers of the invalids to remain quietly in barracks instead of passing their time so unprofitably in the town.
The accompanying illustration shows the Reading-room, as far as this very desirable improvement has progressed.

This article gives a very different impression of the barracks than is seen in an account by George Russell Dartnell (1799-1878), an army surgeon who was, at that time, Deputy Inspector-General of Hospitals. He wrote a manuscript entitled “A few brief Anecdotes connected with Her Majesty’s visit to the Hospitals at Chatham, 1855-6, written by G. R. Dartnell, D.I.G.H.” from which the following extract is taken recounting Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's visit to the barracks in June 1855:

After inspecting the men on the ground the Queen and party walked across to see the Casemate Barracks, about which so much has been said and written of late. She went into one or two of the upper rooms and was quite horrified at them. “Are these really the barrack rooms of these Invalids?” she said to me: I said, “Yes indeed they are your Majesty” And Prince Albert, looking over towards the splendid Convict Prison recently built in view of the Casemate Barracks, said “Well it seems very extraordinary that there should be no difficulty in obtaining money to erect a magnificent building like this for convicts, and that it should be impossible to find the means of building a commonly comfortable Barrack for convalescent soldiers.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: merc on September 25, 2011, 20:40:23
November 19, 1888.

Fatal Golf Accident

On Saturday while some youths were playing golf at St. Mary's Barracks, Chatham, one named Frank Richard Bennett, missed the ball in striking and accidentally hit a companion named William Richard Chapman behind the ear with the club. Chapman fell down insensible, and expired almost immediatly.

From The York Herald.


I've heard about the golf course at the barracks before, does anyone know where it was please?
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: merc on September 27, 2011, 12:04:53
I was just looking through part of the 1871 Census and noticed the entry for "St Mary Barracks And Brompton Huts, Chatham, Gillingham."  I'm presuming Brompton Huts refers to the Hut Barracks that were replaced in 1872-4 with the RE Institute (so this record probably shows the last troops to occupy that site).


According to The Morning Post, the hut barracks were moved to a site near St. Mary's Barracks in about October 1871. A quantity of tackle was borrowed from the Dockyard to help in their removal.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on November 06, 2011, 19:21:13
10 March 1855
Her Majesty and the Wounded.
To the Editor of The times.


Sir, - The Queen of England has lately paid a visit of womanly solicitude and maternal sympathy to the brave men whose mutilated limbs and shattered, but still noble, frames show with melancholy clearness how they have fought and suffered for their country and her crown.  To most, if not all, of them, from her woman’s heart, and with her winning voice, were spoken – for so they love to tell – words which are now repeated with honest pride in the sick-ward to the listening stranger, and will be told again and again to wife and children for many a year in many a cottage home of England.  Nay, on returning to her palace her thoughts were still on the brave she had left, and her order was forthwith despatched for a nominal return of all the wounded in the chatham hospitals, with details, so far as possible, of each case.  Not were the medical authorities forgotten, for not only did Her Majesty personally express, as well she might, her satisfaction at all she saw, but they were further honoured, as indeed they deserved, with a written communication, expressing how much the Queen was gratified by the care bestowed upon their patients, and the condition of the hospitals in Fort Pitt and the Brompton Barracks.
It is simply an act of justice to add, that the state in which Her Majesty found these hospitals was their everyday condition, and that one of the surgeons at Fort Pitt may well congratulate himself on  not having lost a man of his numerous charge.  But there is an obscure, if not dark side to this picture, as well as a bright one.  Her Majesty did not see all; she did not see what she ought to have seen above all.  She did not see what she could not have seen with any other feeing than sorrow, if not indignation and yet she was within eight minutes’ drive of the buildings where it may be seen!  There, Sir, are the casemates, or St. Mary’s Barracks, about a mile form the Brompton, at the south-east extremity of a marshy level on the banks of the Medway, significantly called “Tom-all-alones.”  Their atmospheric fitness for invalids my be judged of from the fact that the cold on the upperstory, with boarded floors, is so great that the clerks of the pay-office petitioned to be removed from it, and had their request granted.  As for water, it is supplied to the officers there from cisterns which serve a twofold purpose in the cheapest and shortest but filthiest, and foulest way possible.  For the men there is indeed, a pump near, but then “it is no good,” and so with their weak bodies and disabled limbs they had to fetch all they wanted in the late frost and snow from another pump or well some 300 yards off.  It is asserted, too, that these barracks have already been condemned by more than one board as altogether unfit for invalids, and men of ordinary humanity would declare that the vaults - rooms they cannot be called - which are now occupied by the Crimean convalescents are not fit habitations even for robust health.  Indeed, it is not at all improbable that the cells of the military prison at Fort Clarence are much more comfortable and wholesome than the lodgings of the men whom the Queen delights to honour, for the latter are from 60 to 70 feet long by about 13 broad, banked up at the back with earth above the level of the ceiling, with only one fireplace in each, and this is not in the middle, but at the extreme end, and no ventilation at all except by the door and windows, conveniently fronting the north-west, for the exhalations form the mud of the Medway.  The floors are paved with Yorkshire stone up the middle, and bricks at the sides laid on the natural earth, on which stand the iron bedsteads about 13 inches high, with straw mattresses to match, and not a bit of straw of matting anywhere else.  Into these cold clammy caves are put invalids – convalescents perhaps are called – men, women and children, from Gibraltar, or even a warmer climate.  In them may now be found men pierced and cut all over who have escaped with life from Alma, Balaklava, and Inkerman, and are fresh from the exhaustions of Scutari, or just recovering from wounds and fever through the care and comfort which they had enjoyed in the hospitals of Fort Pitt and Brompton.  In one of them especially may be found, by night and by day, five or six families or married couples with their children.  All this Her Majesty should have seen; and a local reply to an observation to this effect was “They would not let her!”  Whether this be true or not, it is impossible to say, although it is a fact that the inmates of these places were removed from them for inspection elsewhere; but, whatever “the reason why,” the public may be unanimous in thinking that the nation is disgraced by such a state of things, and that in humanity and gratitude are of no avail to prevent each treatment of her bravest sons in their “hour of need,” still the health and the lives of her soldiers are far too precious and costly to be endangered, if not destroyed, in the miserable caves of a bombproof powder magazine.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on January 03, 2012, 21:27:09
1944
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/DSCF7845Large.jpg)
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on January 26, 2012, 17:34:03
1864?
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/DSCF8321Large.jpg)

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(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF/DSCF8325Large.jpg)
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on February 15, 2012, 18:12:31
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 28 February 1860

CHATHAM.
INVALID DEPOT.—Brevet Lieut.-Colonel John Henry Shaw, from the 45th Foot, has been appointed Major-Superintendent, vice Brevet-Colonel Anderson, who exchanges.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on February 20, 2012, 23:29:53
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 26 February 1861

CHATHAM.
THE INVALID DEPOT, ST. MARY'S.—The correspondent of a contemporary writes:- "I am at a loss to understand how, after all we have heard of the importance of well housing our Soldiers, of contributing to their comfort and promoting their well being, invalids, fresh from the severe trials of a tropical climate, and certain to bear about them more or less numerous tokens of its debilitating influences, should be stationed in such a detestable place as St. Mary's, Chatham. The place it in every way unfitted for their reception. The site is damp, overhangs low and undrained marsh land, is perpetually visited by chilling fogs which rise after heavy rains from the constantly-flooded marshes on both sides of the river, and is open to east winds. The barracks itself is gloomly enough, but it is also damp, for after a heavy rainfall, the water percolates through the turf and soil on the roof, and leaks into the upper tier of rooms; whilst the rooms below are close, oppressive, and innocent of any ventilation. An agreeable abode this for men just emancipated from a slow process of baking in the plains of Hindostan! Some time back, I think, there were complaints of the supply of water as regards both quantity and quality, but my impression is that the cause of this grievance was subsequently removed. At all events, during my recent visits I heard nothing about the matter, but still one grievance palpably remains unredressed, and it is a grievance the gravity of which is not to he slighted. The pump stands at very inconvenient distance from the men's quarters, and to reach it they have to traverse a tolerably-sized piece of sward which on a wet day is of agreeable spongy texture, conveying no doubt a sensation of coolness to the feet exceedingly delightful and favourable moreover to the rapid development of such disorders as bronchitis, pneumonia, and phthisis. Although the invalids at St. Mary's are not men in absolute necessity of medical treatment, for where they so, they would be removed speedily to Fort Pitt, few of them are in robust health, while the large majority are suffering from impaired physical powers and depressed energies, and not a few of them without perhaps being afflicted with any formed or determinate disease, have shattered constitutions, and are in no case or condition to undergo scathless climatic trials. The truth is, St. Mary's is a fortified barrack, a portion of the line of defence for the garrison and dockyard which begins with the battery on St. Mary's Creek, and terminates with the outworks of Fort Clarence, and is as fit a receptacle, even temporarily, for military invalids as Edinburgh Castle itself. If there is any necessity to keep the depot at or near Chatham, there is no reason why Fort Clarence should not be employed for the purpose. The site is convenient, healthy, sheltered at a small expense; some of the existing buildings could readily be converted into excellent quarters for the invalids, who would certainly benefit by the change."
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on February 25, 2012, 00:42:03
Report of 1858

St. Mary’s Casemates.

These casemates are situated in the curtain of one of the fronts of the Lines.  They are two stories in height.
The lower story is below the level of the ditch in front, and consequently there is no opening at the end opposite the door, and no means of thorough ventilation.
For many years after the pace of 1815 the building was used as a powder magazine, and since 1844 the whole of it has been by degrees appropriated as barracks for soldiers and invalids returning from foreign service.  Four apartments are used as store rooms for the militia.
Forty-seven casemates are used as barrack rooms; they vary in depth, from back to front, from 59 feet 6 inches to 61 feet 6 inches; their breadth varies from 16 feet 5 inches to 17 feet; and their height to the crown of the arch varies from 7 feet 5 inches to 10 feet 6 inches.  They are long, narrow, low arches, placed side by side; the lower tier resembling to some extent, in their sanitary relations, the cellar dwellings of towns.

About half of the umber have 4 small windows at the ends and a fanlight.  The other half have 2 small windows each, at one end only, for light and ventilation.  The floors are of stone and brick.  There is one small fore place for warming at the far end from the door.
Each of these arches accommodates by regulation 24 men.  They were formally used for 30 men each.  During the Crimean War this number was reduced to 24, but since the barrackmaster’s return was sent to us the number has been raised again to 30.
The casemates are at present used partly for healthy men and partly for invlaides.

More to come...
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on February 25, 2012, 19:04:28
The accommodation is as follows:-
Rooms.Regulation Number of men.Actual Occupants.Number of Men at 600 Cubic Feet each.Excess if Regulation over accommodation.Excess of actual Number over accommodation.
14336420168168252
1433642025284168
81922409696144
61441801083672
496120484872
1243018612
471,1281,410690438720

It hence appears that, according to regulation, 1,128 men are placed in the cubic space in which no more than 690 men ought to be placed, showing an excess of 438 men: that the actual number of occupants exceeds the regulation number by 282 men, while it exceeds the accommodation by no less than 720 men, and that even if these casemates were otherwise suitable they have space for 690 men and no more.  This estimate is based on the assumption that the casemates are occupied only by healthy men; if they were all occupied by invalids at 1,200 cubic feet each, the accommodation would even in a well constructed hospital receive no more than half that number.
At the time of our inspection there were 40 invalids in the depot, and three of the casemates were ready for the reception of more.
The ventilation is by a moveable fanlight, and by apertures lately introduced opposite the door and covered with perforated zinc.  This latter improvement has it is stated made a beneficial change in the condition of the atmosphere, but the ventilation is still very imperfect.
Each casemate is lighted by two gas burners which have added much to the comfort of the inmates.
There is no day room.
One casemate on the upper flat is used as an infant school, and there were 58 children receiving instruction in it.  The schoolmistress lives at one end of the casemate.  The cubic space would be about 125 or 130 cubic feet for each inmate.
One casemate on the upper flat is fitted up as a library.
One casemate on the lower floor is fitted up as a lavatory.  It has 60 basins and is lit with gas.
There are no baths belonging to the establishment.
One of the lower casemates is set apart for washing done by soldiers’ wives, but there are no stands for tubs and no washing troughs.
There are boilers for heating water, but the water is not laid on.  It has to be carried from outside.
There are no foot boards to stand on, and no means of carrying off the steam.
The Staff-Serjeants are provided with quarters,  Other Serjeants who are invalids and married, as well as married soldiers, are accommodated in some of the lower casemates.  There are from 4 to 6 families in each.  Married non-commissioned officers and married soldiers of the depot battalions live in the barrack rooms with the men.
There are 2 kitchens in the casemates; they are supplied with boilers, the water for which has to be carried from the outside.  There are no means of cooking except by boiling.  The kitchens are not ventilated.
There is no covered shed for drill and no cleaning room.
Water is obtained from the Brompton reservoir which receives its supply from the dockyard works.
There are also wells, but their yield has decreased in consequence of the works at the docks.
The drainage is carried down to the river.
New privies have been recently constructed.
As a place for receiving, on their return home from foreign service, men whose health has been injured, perhaps irreparably in the service of the country, the casemates of St. Mary’s establishment are entirely unsuitable.  We have no hesitation in saying that they should not be used for such a purpose for a single day longer than may be necessary to provide other accommodation.
The lower casemates are more like cellars than living rooms.  They are damp, dark, and insufficiently ventilated; and, during the warm weather, when invalids arrive in largest numbers, they are greatly overcrowded.
It may, therefore, be inferred, that the chief reason why the mortality is not greater, is the short time the men are kept in these places, and to be the same cause it is to be attributed that the health of the depot does not suffer so much as otherwise might be expected.

To be continued...
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on February 26, 2012, 16:23:08
Even as it is the number of admissions into Hospital, as well as the mortality among invalids is very great.
Returns send to us for twenty-two months proceeding October 31st, 1857, show that out of an average monthly strength of 749 there were 6,393 admissions into Hospital, and 142 deaths.
It would thus appear that the admissions per annum are four and a-half times the average strength, while the deaths to strength have been 103 per 1,000 per annum.  Of these deaths nearly 40 per cent. arose from phthisis.  This mortality, it must be remembered, takes place among invalids who have already passed through Hospital and been weeded there of the worst cases of death.  There is sufficient reason for believing that the sanitary condition of these casemates acts injuriously on the health of the invalids in them.
St. Mary’s casemates are certainly te last places to which consumptive invalids ought to be sent, whether we regard their exposed position, the neighbouring wet marshy ground, or their very defective sanitary condition.
The real difficulty is to know what to do with them. Were there accommodation for the invalids elsewhere, they ought to be at once removed and the casemates vacated.  While on the other hand it would require a large outlay to make them habitable as barracks for troops.
There appears to be no course open except to deal with them as we would do with a barrack, and to allot 600 cubic feet for each man in them.
We are of the opinion therefore:-

1.   That 600 cubic feet of space be allowed to every inmate of the casemates.
2.   That all the casemates be provided with additional means of ventilation by air shafts at the end opposite the door, and that perforated zinc panes be introduced into the fanlights to admit fresh air at all times, and that all the gas burners be ventilated.
3.   That the lower casemates be floored with wood.
4.   That the kitchens be fitted up with a suitable roasting and baking apparatus.
5.   That the wash-house be fitted up with wooden gratings and stands for tubs, or with washing troughs, and that a suitable laundry stove be provided.
6.   That the privies be converted into water latrines, with suitable flushing apparatus, and flushed out once a-day.

There are three guard rooms and two lock-up rooms connected with the casemates.  They are all overcrowded and imperfectly ventilated.

1.   The barrier guard room ought to accommodate, according to regulation, 12 men in 1,710 cubic feet of space, giving 142 feet per man.  It happens to be occupied by one man.
The regulation number of men ought to be reduced from 12 to 3.
2.   St. Mary’s guard room has regulation accommodation for 14 men, giving only 207 cubic feet for each.  It ought to contain no more than 6 men.
3.   The Magazine guard room has been 14 men where only 6 ought to be.
4.   In St. Mary’s guard lock-up each inmate has only 262 cubic feet when it is occupied by the regulation number of 10 men.  At 600 cubic feet per man it would hardly accommodate half the number.
5.   The Regimental lock-up would accommodate 12 men in a space in which 20 men may be placed according to regulation.

All these guard rooms and lock-up places require ventilation through the ceilings and roofs, besides reduction of numbers so as to give 600 cubic feet per man.
We have made these recommendation in order that the more urgent defects n this establishment may be removed at the least expense; but were it practicable there can be no doubt as to the propriety of removing the troops and invalids from them entirely.
They are best adapted for use in cases of necessity, as, for instance, during a siege, when they may be the means of saving life – at present their effect is probably the reverse.

We have the honour to be, &c.

Sidney Herbert.
John Sutherland.
W.H. Burrell.
Douglass Galton.

Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: cliveh on January 10, 2013, 07:12:40
A postcard of the barracks post marked 1905:

cliveh
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: bromptonboy on January 10, 2013, 11:38:16
At a guess I'd say the photo was taken from the slopes at the rear of what is now known as Fieldworks Road.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on January 10, 2013, 15:38:17
The huts in that photo were originally those that formed the Hut Barracks (http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=13194.0) behind Prence Henry's Bastion. They were moved to St Mary's c. 1872 when the R.E. Institute was built on the old Hut Barracks site.  Sadly I don't know when they went from St Mary's but it may have been when the Naval Barracks (HMS Pembroke http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=358.0) were opened c.1903.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on January 10, 2013, 17:07:42
Thank you for posting the picture Cliveh :)
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: cliveh on January 10, 2013, 18:24:09
Thank you for posting the picture Cliveh :)

You're very welcome kyn!  :)


cliveh
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on December 20, 2017, 21:13:44
(http://media.iwm.org.uk/ciim5/362/350/large_000000.jpg?action-e&cat=photographs) (http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205358662?cat=photographs)
THE BRITISH ARMY BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR. © IWM (Q 69862) (http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205358662?cat=photographs)IWM Non Commercial Licence (http://www.iwm.org.uk/corporate/privacy-copyright/licence)

Royal Engineers 1856.
Spar bridge on the scaffold principle, over a ditch off the left branch of St Mary's Hornwork, Chatham.
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: cliveh on January 07, 2018, 15:46:13
Gunners from the Chinese Navy attending the RN Gunnery School at St Mary's Barracks in August 1945

© IWM (A 30213)
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 27, 2018, 20:19:55
Thanks for adding that Clive, that is an amazing photo!
Title: Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
Post by: kyn on April 28, 2018, 19:35:23
One feature connected to these barracks has intrigued me for many years.  To the west of the barracks was a guard room, which I assume was the entrance also to a counterscarp gallery to fire into and along the ditch.

In the Ordnance Houses report of 1830 the buildings are listed as below:
126Caponier containing a Guardhouse & Solitary cells.Prince Frederick’s Bastion.1 Non-commissioned Officer & 12 Privates.

A caponier is a defensive building used to defend a ditch upon invasion - I hadn't considered the difference between a caponier which is across a ditch floor, and a counterscarp gallery, which is along the inside of a ditch wall.  Quite a difference!

I was looking at the first two images attached and wondering what the guard house was guarding?  It is in the middle of the barracks and does not seem to have been placed in an area that needed that sort of protection - there are no specific access points here.

I was flicking through my plans and found the Ordnance Houses survey and realised that I had neglected to consider that the ditches in the first plans were the extension ditches!  Previously at this point the ditches cut through at this point and headed north towards what later became HMS Pembroke!  This guard house was one of few crossings from the field of fire, over a bridge and into the barracks.

I always hoped we would be able to access the counterscarp one day, now I have to hope we can access the caponier, guard house and cells! (Although the guard house would have been above ground and no remains seem to exist - but there is hope for the caponier and maybe the cells!)