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Author Topic: The Cavalry Depot Maidstone  (Read 9405 times)

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Offline bromptonboy

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Re: The Cavalry Depot Maidstone
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2011, 11:54:52 »
Continuing a theme, it would appear that for a period Maidstone, supported by Canterbury, was the Base Depot and School for the cavalry arm of the army. Various references come together to support this theory.
a) Apart from the Cavalry Barracks on Sandling Road we also have a Census reference to a Trinity Barracks in Maidstone as the Army Cavalry Depot and Riding School.
b) The 1851 Chatham Siege operations lists cavalry regiments from the Maidstone Depot taking part to whit: 3rd Light Dragoons, 9th Lancers, 10th Hussars, 14th Light Dragoons and the 15th Hussars.
c) A new pontoon bridge at Wouldham was tested by "passing the cavalry from Maidstone over it".
d) The RE Mounted Troops were supplied with their horses from the RA Horse Depot in Maidstone.
e) Like Chatham for the Infantry, all recruits to the Cavalry were sent to Maidstone.
f) In support of the Cavalry Depot at Maidstone were the St Gregory's Cavalry Barracks of 1794 and the King's Cavalry Barracks of 1808, both in Canterbury.

To continue this thread in a wider context, this information can be joined with my other topic suggesting Chatham as the fore-runner of an Aldershot style group of establishments. In the first half of the 19thC this 'hub' consisted of:
At Chatham ~ The HQ and School of the RE's, The Office of the Inspector General of Fortifications, The Base Depot for the Infantry, The Office of the Inspector General of Recruitment, The School of Infantry along with the first centralised musketry range, Fort Pitt General Hospital, The Army Medical School, The Office of the Deputy Deputy Director of the Hospital Staff Corps, The Depot of the Hospital Staff Corps, The Depot of the East India Company, the Printing Works and HQ of Gale & Polden, the location of the biggest powder magazines in the country and was the discharge depot for all troops of the army except RA and the Guards.
At Maidstone ~ The Army Cavalry Depot and Riding School, The RA Horse Depot.
At Canterbury ~ A sub-establishment of the Cavalry Depot.
At Woolwich(still in Kent!) ~ The HQ and Depot of the Royal Artillery, the principal artillery ranges and the Military Acedemy.
At Hythe ~ The School of Musketry.
Each summer troops of the infantry, cavalry, artillery and engineer arms supported by other arms and the Royal Marines would gather in Chatham for what were called the Siege Exercises, but what would in the days of Aldershot become known as the Annual Army Manouevers.
Chatham is very well known as a principal Naval Base, but it's army heritage is very often under-recognised. Chatham was more than just a barracks establishment for the Chatham Lines and more than just an engineer training school, it was for a period the centre of the British Army.
I hope I have stirred up a big debate with this and look forward to members responses!

seafordpete

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Re: The Cavalry Depot Maidstone
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2011, 14:11:41 »
Peterchall you are right, it was the RWK until the Engineers took it over, as was Invicta Lines (now Invicta Park) further along Sandling Rd on the other side. I think the Somerfield Terrace postings came about from an article in The Times. No idea on Trinity Bks although Trinity Church was behind the GPO & Eye Hospital, think its an art centre now so not that far from Union St Militia Bks.

Offline bromptonboy

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Re: The Cavalry Depot Maidstone
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2011, 12:31:07 »
The 1851 Census has the Cavalry Depot at Maidstone being located at Trinity Barracks. Any ideas on location?

Offline peterchall

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Re: The Cavalry Depot Maidstone
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2011, 12:12:28 »
They were the Royal West Kent's Barracks and Depot from at least 1929 (My parents were in MQs there when I was born), to whenever they closed after the war. The present White Rabbit restaurant was the Officers' Mess.
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

seafordpete

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Re: The Cavalry Depot Maidstone
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2011, 11:56:40 »
MikeB that rings a bell as being discussed on here years ago, can't remember the outcome though. My memory was addled 1869 OS shows Maidstone Bks off Sandling Rd as The Cavalry Barracks, the ones I thought were by the Jail were the RWK Militia barracks and in Union St

Offline mikeb

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Re: The Cavalry Depot Maidstone
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2011, 11:35:55 »
For what it is worth, my wife was a nurse in the 1970's at the Somerfield (Summerfield?) Hospital London Road Maidstone and she was told that it was originally cavalry officers quarters / mess building.  It is certainly very grand both inside and out, but I have no way of verifying this theory, but thought it be be worth noting.

Offline bromptonboy

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Re: The Cavalry Depot Maidstone
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2011, 10:50:10 »
Quote from the English Heritage listing text about the Cavalry Depot Officers Mess ~ now the White Rabbit PH.

TQ 7556 SEMAIDSTONESANDLING ROAD
(West side)
883/4/335
Officers' Quarters,
Maidstone, Former Cavalry
02.08.1974Barracks

II*


Officers' quarters and mess at cavalry barracks; disused, c1797 -98, by the Barrack Department; Localisation depot from 1874, Timber balloon frame clad in weather board with brick ridge stacks and rear extension, and slate hipped roof. PLAN: E-shaped plan in 3 sections with double-depth rooms openig each side off transverse stairs and rear services, EXTERIOR: 2 storeys; 9-Window range. A symmetrical front divided into three sections, the middle one 3 storeys with a pediment, each with central doorways with good decorative iron overlights and panelled doors, and 6/6-pane sashes. Right-hand return has a deep canted bay to the mess room, Service bays run back at either end with a C19 brick extension at the right, and a central rear projection has a hipped roof. INTERIOR: not inspected, but reported to contain heated officers' rooms with shelving and boot racks, and dogleg stairs up from each entrance. HISTORY: formed the centrepiece to the cavalry barracks overlooking the square, flanked by the men's barracks which in 1806 held 450 men. The three sections contained the CO's quarters to the left, rooms for some 11 officers and their servants, with right-hand mess and ante rooms. The Department built the first army barracks in England for large numbers of cavalry , infantry , and militia during the French wars; most were dismantled afterwards. This is the only known example to have survived of a large timber barracks, and is the only cavalry officers' quarters from this highly significant period.



Listing NGR: TQ7580856440


seafordpete

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Re: The Cavalry Depot Maidstone
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2011, 10:05:38 »
From memory it shows the depot on Old Maps Well Rd/ Wheeler St junction  back of the Prison

Offline bromptonboy

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The Cavalry Depot Maidstone
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2011, 09:44:17 »
Just how big an establishment was the Cavalry Depot at Maidstone. Apparently it was THE Cavalry Depot for the British Army having been moved there from St John's Wood London (incidentally the present home of the King's Troop RHA) There are plenty of mentions of individuals from various cavalry regiments but manpower figures are a bit scarce. One reference I have found is to cavalry regiments that were involved in the annual siege exercise in Chatham in 1851. These were drawn from the Cavalry Depot Maidstone and consisted of troops of the 3rd Light Dragoons, 9th Lancers, 10th Hussars, 14th Light Dragoons, and the 15th Hussars, so possibly quite a number? I have also found a reference in the book The Royal Engineer by Major Head to the horses supplied to the mounted troops of the Royal Engineers being supplied from the RHA Horse Depot at Maidstone.
As followers of my posts will know I have a belief that until the advent of Aldershot the Chatham Garrison together with satelites at Woolwich, Maidstone, Canterbury and Hythe was the principal centre of operations for the British Army. Any additionaol infoormation that members can bring to this debate will be appreciated.

 

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