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Author Topic: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham  (Read 26442 times)

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Offline kyn

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #43 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!)

Offline kyn

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #42 on: April 27, 2018, 20:19:55 »
Thanks for adding that Clive, that is an amazing photo!

Offline cliveh

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #41 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)

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #40 on: December 20, 2017, 21:13:44 »

THE BRITISH ARMY BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR. © IWM (Q 69862)IWM Non Commercial Licence

Royal Engineers 1856.
Spar bridge on the scaffold principle, over a ditch off the left branch of St Mary's Hornwork, Chatham.
I Wish It Would Rain The Temptations

Offline cliveh

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2013, 18:24:09 »
Thank you for posting the picture Cliveh :)

You're very welcome kyn!  :)


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Offline kyn

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2013, 17:07:42 »
Thank you for posting the picture Cliveh :)

Offline Leofwine

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #37 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.
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Offline bromptonboy

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #36 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.

Offline cliveh

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2013, 07:12:40 »
A postcard of the barracks post marked 1905:

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Offline kyn

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #34 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.


Offline kyn

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #33 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...

Offline kyn

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #32 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...

Offline Leofwine

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #31 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."
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #30 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.
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Offline kyn

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Re: St Mary's Casemated Barracks, Chatham
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2012, 17:34:03 »
1864?











 

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