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Author Topic: Brompton Barracks.  (Read 74138 times)

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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #115 on: July 08, 2017, 21:21:49 »
Thanks Bilgerat, I guess that explains why they reappear in Brompton Barracks in the late 1850s and 60s. They did return, but as a part of State forces rather than a private army, and as you suggest were probably absorbed into the R.E.s later.
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Offline Bilgerat

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #114 on: July 08, 2017, 18:57:27 »
Re the East India Company leaving in 1843, as mentioned in my last post (from an 1844 source), I have now found reference to the East India Engineers still being in Brompton Barracks in the 1850s and 1860s. I wonder if this means they came back after 1844, or if the reports of them leaving refers to the 'rank and file' leaving, but their Engineers remained. Does anyone have any more information?

The Honourable East India Company had it's own armed forces, which included an Engineer Corps. It was nationalised under the Government of India Act 1858, which was passed by Parliament as a result of the Indian Mutiny, which had devastated large parts of India. Under the 1858 Act, the Crown took control of all the HEIC's possessions in India, all of the Company's armed forces and to all intents and purposes, took control of India. The last of the Mughal Emperors (Bahadur Shah II) was exiled to Rangoon and the title of 'Emperor of India' (or Empress) passed to Queen Victoria.The only role the Company had left after that was to manage the tea trade on behalf of HM Government. The East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act of 1873 was the final nail in the Company's coffin, under this Act, the Company was dissolved with effect from 1st June 1874.

The East India Engineers might have continued as they had done before, operating under Company colours, but they were certainly absorbed into the Corps of Royal Engineers by 1874.
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #113 on: July 08, 2017, 18:09:55 »
I'm trying to piece together the history/development of the Chapel in Brompton Barracks, but there seem to be some confusing and/or unknown details.

The Chapel was located in the North wing, and I assume was part of the original design when the barracks were first built in 1804. Does anyone know for sure?

As another post in this thread mentions, by 1851 the chapel was becoming too small, and plans were made to build a new Garrison Chapel (which led to the building of what is now known as St. Barbara's Garrison Church in Maxwell Road, thread for discussions of that here - http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=5813 ) I had assumed that it ceased to be used as a chapel once the new Garrison Church was opened in 1854, but references to Queen Victoria's visit to the wounded troops in 1856 refers to them gathering in the Chapel. This might just be that the name was still used, although it no longer functioned as a chapel.

As I understand it, when it ceased to be used as a chapel it was used as a model room, and later as the museum. The 1858 information Kyn posted earlier in the thread suggests that there was a model room and museum in the northern wing, so did the chapel serve both functions, or was the museum elsewhere in the wing? 

In the 1860 reports there is mention of model rooms being built in the new range of buildings constructed at that date, so were these a replacement for, or an addition to, the chapel as a model room?

In the 1970s and early 80s I seem to recall the old chapel being just the R.E. museum, so do we know when it ceased to be used as a model room (the answer may be contained in my previous question.)

The R.E. Museum moved to its current site in the Ravelin building in 1987. Now the old chapel seems to serve as a lecture theatre. Did it switch to this use as soon as the museum moved out, or did it serve another function once the museum moved?

If anyone can help me pin down these details it would be very helpful.

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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #112 on: July 08, 2017, 17:42:38 »
Re the East India Company leaving in 1843, as mentioned in my last post (from an 1844 source), I have now found reference to the East India Engineers still being in Brompton Barracks in the 1850s and 1860s. I wonder if this means they came back after 1844, or if the reports of them leaving refers to the 'rank and file' leaving, but their Engineers remained. Does anyone have any more information?
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #111 on: July 08, 2017, 16:14:22 »
The East India Company had a Depot in Brompton Barracks in the early 19th Century. I'm not sure if it was there from the start, or if they arrived after the R.A. and R.E.s, but it appears they left in 1843. Their presence probably explains why there was a beerhouse in Wood Street, opposite the barracks, called 'The East India Arms.'

From: The Military annual, under the direction of the author of 'The artillerist's manual'. (1844)

East India Company's Depot
Moved from Chatham to Warley Barracks on the 25th May, upon which occasion the following appeared in the Chatham garrison orders:-
Chatham, May 24, 1843

To-morrow being the day appointed for the removal of the Honourable East India Company's depot to Warley, Colonel Sir T. Willshire cannot allow it to separate from the garrison, with which it has been associated for so many years, without giving public expression of his high approval of the uniformity, good conduct, and regularity which he finds has marked its course of service at this station, and which he has particularly noticed during the period it has been under his orders. With a smaller, than the usual, proportion of officers and non commissioned officers, it has equalled in discipline and conduct the corps by which it has been surrounded; thus affording ample proof of the admirable system of internal economy established by Lieut.-Col. Hay, and reflecting the highest credit upon him and the officers under his command. The wants of her Majesty's service having pressed upon Sir T. Willshire the necessity of taking an active part in urging the removal of the Hon. East India Company's depot from this garrison, he cannot allow that circumstance to convey the impression that his feelings towards that depot fall short of the esteem and regard it has so justly acquired for itself in this neighbourhood. He is happy to have an opportunity of assuring Col. Hay and the officers under his command, that, individually and collectively, they will carry with them Sir T. Willshire's best wishes for their welfare and happiness.
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Offline smiffy

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #110 on: January 30, 2017, 23:08:29 »
Photograph from the na3t.org site showing the High street gates at top right, plus a sharpened enlargement.


Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #109 on: January 03, 2017, 20:09:40 »
Barry5X. Had to smile when reading your most interesting account of life in the Sgts. mess at Brompton Barracks. RSM's were " gods", so having an RAF W.O. senior would have been the pits for him! Not surprised at the unanimous show of Army hands( bit like the unions in those days). I suppose that one could say at least they were asked. On one station in the RAF, a F.O.that none of us liked much, was getting married & a sum was deducted from everyone's mess bill automatically.

Offline Barry 5X

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #108 on: January 02, 2017, 23:01:18 »
The Royal Air Force at Brompton Barracks.

In the early 1970’s Brompton Barracks was used to provide accommodation and messing arrangements for Royal Air Force personnel who were attending training courses at the Marconi Elliott factory at Rochester. I was there in 1973/1974 to attend a manufacturers course on electronic equipment fitted to the new RAF Jaguar fighter aircraft and for 6 months lodged in the Sgt’s Mess where we came across the strange peculiarities of Army life.  One being that despite the Sgt’s mess bar being open at 6pm every night, no beer could be served by the mess steward or consumed until the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) had entered the bar and downed his daily tipple. I forget the number of times my colleagues and I gave up waiting to have a pint because the RSM hadn’t turned up or was late.  In the RAF when the Mess bar was open – it was open!

To make matters more complicated, the senior member of the Brompton Barracks Sgt’s Mess was a RAF Warrant Officer who was the permanent liaison officer between Marconi Elliot and the RAF Engineering authority.  He of course was a thorn in the side of the RSM, and was known to throw a spanner in the works when it came to army matters; a classic example was to call an extraordinary mess meeting, having waited until the RSM went on leave, so that the mess members could vote to buy some new disco equipment for the mess dances. The RSM would have cause vetoed such a move especially when the new turntable, amps, speakers and lighting equipment costs amounted to £750.  The vote was carried, the money spent and the new disco was in place by the time the RSM returned.

Being fellow serving military personnel working for Queen and Country and being (albeit temporary) mess members (for which we had a monthly bill to pay); us RAF bods did have equal voting rights when it came to mess meetings.  On one occasion the RSM (better known as God) told a mess gathering that he had purchased a solid silver condiment set and held it aloft for us all to see.  Gentlemen this is a farewell gift from the Sgt’s Mess for the departing Commanding Officer and this will cost you all an extra £2.50p on your next mess bill.  There was a short period of shock and quietness, which was broken by a RAF Sergeant who stood up and reminded the Mess membership that it was contrary to Queens Regulations to buy presents for serving Officers.  This statement of fact was totally ignored by the RSM who then invited mess members to vote on the motion by a show of hands – “Gentlemen, all those for” which was met with the show of hands by every army SNCO present. “Gentlemen, all those against” which was met by 5 RAF SNCO’s having raised hands.  As every vote taken had to be unanimous to be approved, the RSM with hatred in his eyes stated that the vote would be taken again.  It was, with the result being the same as the first vote.  “Motion carried” said the RSM, as if the RAF contingent had suddenly become invisible.

When it came to paying the next mess bill, the RAF members of the mess refused to pay the extra £2.50 – funnily enough, despite warnings that you cannot refuse to pay, nothing else was said or done. 

As a footnote, at another mess meeting the RSM declared “Gentlemen, last Saturday night I attended the mess and had to ask three guests to leave the bar for swearing.  Gentlemen this is not F***ing good enough”.  We the RAF SNCO”S as one burst out laughing to this statement as we saw this as a welcome but unusual outburst of humour from the RSM – he was human after all!  Immediately aware that we were the only one’s laughing and the army attendees all had deadpan faces, we realised that the RSM hadn’t been joking and was deadly serious.  Thank goodness, we had the unspoken protection of the RAF Warrant Officer.  Jeez that RSM hated the RAF.

Offline conan

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #107 on: November 13, 2016, 21:48:06 »
Here's one for you DaveTheTrain from 1885 with a very fine looking A & P traction engine:

(Image removed from quote.)


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A print of a steam sapper "marching past" from the Graphic magazine

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #106 on: November 25, 2015, 22:46:14 »
Brompton Hospital was within Brompton Barracks on the north side of the parade square.

Print © The Trustees of the British Museum. Museum number 1902,1011.9150.
 Her Majesty and his Royal Highness ... (Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) visiting the wounded ... at Brompton Hospital, Chatham.
Published August 8th 1855 by Paul & Dominic Colnaghi &Co.
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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #105 on: October 05, 2015, 22:22:42 »
12 August 1865

An Officer Shot at Chatham.

A deliberate and, it is feared, successful attempt was made to murder Major Francis Horatio De Vere, and officer of Royal Engineers attached to the head-quarters of the Royal Engineer establishment, Chatham, yesterday afternoon.  He was shot through the lungs, by a private Sapper of the corps, as he was stationed on the parade-ground of Brompton Barracks in the discharge of his military duties.  The perpetrator is a young man named Curry, who has been but a short time in the corps.  From the circumstances connected with the attempted murder, there is no doubt it had been planned some time previously.  The officers and men of the various companies had fallen in in front of their quarters in the barrack-square shortly after 1 o’clock I readiness to proceed to the fieldworks, and Major De Vere was at the time standing with a group of other officers in conversation.  On moving away a few paces and while he was in the act of giving some orders, the report of a rifle fired from one of the upper windows of the rooms occupied by the sappers was heard.  He instantly staggered forward, exclaiming “My God! My God! I am shot,” and fell into the arms of some of the officers who went to his assistance.  At the same moment the man who had discharged the rifle from the window retreated into the centre of the room and, putting down the rifle, walked into an adjoining apartment, where he was at once seized by Lieutenant Dunford and some men of the Royal Engineers.  The distance of the spot where Major De Vere was standing at the time he was shot was between 20 and 30 yards from the window from which the rifle was discharged.  At that moment his back was towards the window, the ball entering just below the shoulder and passing in a slightly downward direction into the lungs, and out just below the left breast.  The bullet then tore up the gravel and bounded over the heads of the men on parade, not one of whom, although there were several hundred in the barrack square at the time, was struck.
Major De Vere, who occupies a residence away from the barracks, was carried into No.5 house of the officers’ quarters, where medical assistance was at once obtained, Dr. Scabrook – a private medical practitioner in the neighbourhood – being promptly in attendance.  An examination of the wound made by the bullet showed that it would in all probability terminate fatally, the internal haemorrhage being very great.  At the time Curry committed the act he occupied No.4 room, K house, and he had that day been doing duty as cook’s mate, and the same afternoon would have resumed his ordinary engineering duties.  Major De Vere has only within a short time succeeded Col. Lovell, C.B., as instructor in field fortifications at the Royal Engineer establishment, and the accused has been under instruction for some time past.  The cause which led to the crime appears to have been that Major De Vere had caused curry to be confined in the cells for a period of six days for some military offence.  It is also stated that Major De Vere had reused to allow Curry to leave the fieldworks in consequence of his incompetency.  Curry seemed to have watched a favourable opportunity of being left lone in the barrack-room when he could discharge his rifle form the open window.  On being arrested a second rifle was found in the same room, and this had been likewise loaded by the prisoner, the inference being either that he had intended to discharge the second rifle at Major De Vere should the first shot have failed in striking him, or that he intended after shooting the officer to take his own life.  The accused on being arrested did not offer the least resistance, and made no remark.  He had been in the corps rather more than 12 months, and was transferred to the Royal Engineers from one of the cavalry regiments.  Major De Vere is an officer who has seen considerable service.  He was employed on a special mission in Turkey, and subsequently he served throughout the whole of the Crimean war, from the landing of the Allies to the fall of Sebastopol.  He is a Knight of the Legion of Honour, and is also decorated with the fifth class of the Medjidie.  He succeeded to the appointment of instructor in filed fortifications at Chatham about 12 months since, and is highly esteemed by his brother officers as well for his eminent services ad great ability as for the conscientious manner in which he performed the whole of his professional duties.
At the time our report was despatched last night, Major De Vere was still alive, but was gradually becoming weaker.  He was attended by Dr. J.A. Fraser, the principal medical officer of the garrison, and other medical officers, but the opinion was entertained that he could not survive the night.

Execution of the Murderer of Major de Vere.

At noon yesterday, in front of Maidstone goal, John Currie, a private in the Royal Artillery, aged only nineteen, paid the forfeit of his life for the murder of Major de Vere - a murder as deliberately savage and atrociously cold-blooded as any in the calendar of crime. Although actually in satisfaction of the civil law, this execution has a special military significance, every circumstance and detail of the murderer's act having been of a purely military character. Within barracks, in sullen resentment of some real or imaginary grievance incidental to barrack life, and with the weapon entrusted to him as a sworn servant of the Queen, Currie took aim at the ill-fated officer, as he was walking, in uniform, on parade; and the aim was that of a soldier, in its deadly precision if in nought beside. Poor Major de Vere was shot quite through the chest; and, though he rallied marvellously, the hope felt for him by all his friends - and we may say by the whole nation - was against hope. The brave officer, who had served gallantly in the Crimea, lingered for eleven days of a mortal wound inflicted by one of his own men and in his own country. Compassion, then, for the stripling who met his death yesterday by the halter - and who met it well - was almost extinguished in the stronger feeling of pity for his victim, and of sympathy for the victim's widow and orphan children. And if an additional consideration were needed to give us, in this case, a more than commonly stoical calmness in presence of a sight the most hideous and revolting, it might be the simple fact to which we have already pointed, that this was in effect, though not in law, a military execution - that the sterner discipline of the military code was thereby vindicated - and that the offence being in the last degree mutinous, as well as homicidal, more utterly precluded the offender from hope of mercy.

The gaol, at the top of the town, is not so grim a donjon, outwardly, as might be expected. It has a Doric front, of a rather cheerfully sedate aspect; and the railed green space before it is really almost out of character with a prison. Outside the iron railings is a wide public place, on which five thousand persons might stand, though scarce as many hundreds stood there yesterday, until just ten minutes or so before 12 o'clock, when the crowd increased, though not to anything like the dimensions that experienced officials of the goal had looked for. Out from one of the wings projected the scaffold - a grisly kind of black balcony, with the drop in the midst, and a strong beam and chain over it, supported by two uprights. The sides of this balcony were draped with black cloth, and, being high, hid all but the heads of those who mounted the platform; though the floor of the drop was somewhat raised so as to exhibit more prominently the figures of the condemned and the executioner.

Two hours before the time not fifty people together could be counted. Of red coats in the crowd there were two only, we believe; one being the uniform of a marine, and the other that of a West Kent recruiting sergeant; and this marked absence of soldiers was all that detracted from the really military character of the execution. The small crowd was very orderly, very undemonstrative, and strangely unmoved by the spectacle on the scaffold. The behaviour of all present, indeed, fully bore out what we have said as to the lack of any cause for deploring the fate of the youthful culprit, unless it were his youth.

At noon the prisoner was led up on the scaffold and placed beneath the drop. He wore his red shell jacket and regimental trousers with the red stripe. Currie was very calm, and his pallor was not extreme or even noticeable. On his way to the scaffold he had repeated aloud, and in an unshaken voice, a hymn which he said his mother had taught him when he was a little child. There was a simplicity in his manner of recollecting these infantile verses which was inexpressibly touching, and which affected all hearers nearly as much as did the painful scene on Wednesday last, when Currie took leave of his father. Currie was attended to the drop by the Rev. J. Greener, Presbyterian minister; by Mr. Scudamore, the Under sheriff; by Major Bannister, the governor of the goal; and by one or two officials beside. The ordinary, the Rev. Mr. Wooolmer, remained below, ready if required to assist in administering religious consolation; but the condemned man did not ask for him. An extempore prayer was delivered with great fervour by the minister as Currie, lightly pinioned, stepped up under the beam. Calcraft quickly drew the cap over the victim's head, fitted the noose, and then disappeared. It had been arranged that a certain form of words, to be brought into his prayer by the Rev. Mr. Greener, should be the order for the executioner to draw the bolt; but the minister was too long in coming to the point, so long, that the crowd, with all its apathy, was beginning to murmur. When the drop fell, the criminal's white-covered head could just be seen above the barrier, and justice was satisfied on the body of John Currie.


Daily Telegraph, 13 October 1865.
Debe  Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #104 on: October 05, 2015, 21:11:56 »
Two group photos of wounded soldiers taken during one of Queen Victoria's visits to Brompton Barracks during the Crimean War.

© IWM (Q 71597) Wounded soldiers seen by H.M. Queen Victoria at Chatham.

© IWM (Q 71595) Wounded soldiers seen by H.M. Queen Victoria at Brompton Barracks, Chatham.

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Offline cliveh

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #103 on: November 11, 2013, 14:22:49 »
./td]
An old postcard of the R.E. Institute.

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Offline cliveh

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #102 on: July 25, 2013, 10:19:52 »
A  PC of the Officers' Mess Annexe c1904:


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Offline cliveh

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Re: Brompton Barracks.
« Reply #101 on: September 26, 2012, 15:42:40 »
A page from 'The Bystander' magazine August 2nd 1905 featuring King Edward VII unveiling the Chatham Memorial Arch at Brompton Barracks.

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