Description: Royal Artillery Barracks Main Building
Date Listed: 8 June 1973
English Heritage Building ID: 200504
OS Grid Reference: TQ4310478322
OS Grid Coordinates: 543104, 178322
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4858, 0.0597
TQ 4378 REPOSITORY ROAD, SE18
Main Building, Royal
GV 8/6/73 II*
Artillery barracks, offices and mess. E half 1775-82, W half 1802, by James Wyatt, Surveyor General, for the Board of Ordnance, right-handed damaged by bombing c1940, rebuilt c1960, interior altered and partly rebuilt mid C20. Flemish bond brick, stucco and ashlar, with slate roof Late Georgian style. Axial plan of double-depth rooms with through passages; partly rebuilt internally.
EXTERIOR: 3 storeys, attic and basement; 13:5:21:5:13:3:13:5:21:5:13-window range. A very long front of matching, sytmnetrical wings either side of a central triumphal archway, each wing consisting of three blocks with a brick plat band, cornice and parapet, central round-arched doorways in matching recesses with steps up to 6-panel doors with radial fanlights, and rubbed brick flat arches to 6/6-pane sashes. Each wing has outer blocks with raised 2-window ends with balustraded attic storeys, and central lower 2-storey sections with 9 flat-headed lead-clad dormers. The central blocks have pedimented central 5-window sections crowned by square, domed belcotes with louvred round-arched sides, and with secondary flat-headed doorways 4 bays from the ends: the left-hand pediment contains a wind dial, and the right-hand one a clock. Linking these three blocks are stuccoed 2-storey sections set back, with a thin cornice and parapet, a ground floor with a Tuscan colonnade to an entablature and balustrade, and a flat-headed doorway with overlights and 6/6-pane sashes, and first floors articulated by pilasters, with flat-headed windows with radial bars in the top sashes. The right-hand linking section in the left-hand wing has its colonade set forward and infilled with late C20 plate glass, and blind first-floor windows.
The central 3-storey triumphal arch has attached Roman Doric columns on pedestals to a projecting entablature, attic storey with a central swagged portrait panel of Queen Victoria inscribed VR 1858, cornice and parapet, and 4 fu1l-height trophies of arms above the columns and a gilded royal coat of arms in the centre; the middle bay has a tall round archway, with lower archways in the outer bays, and round sunken panels above. The archway has a coffered ceiling and a decorative iron lamp, and the main and side arches have swept iron gates with spear finials to the rear. Attached C20 iron railinsa to the basement area.
INTERIOR: the barracks originally had back-to-back heated rooms either side of a spine wall, and lateral dogleg stairs; largely rebuilt internally. The most complete interior is the officers' mess, which has a dining room with an early C19 decorative scheme with marble fireplaces, enriched plaster walls and ceiling, Doric pilasters and frieze and a distyle in antis division, doors with 8 raised panels, architraves and enriched friezes above.
HISTORY: essentially six late C18-style barracks linked together to form a more striking composition. Formerly including a theatre to the right-hand range, and rear courtyards laid out as a Roman military town with a cross of main roads ending in triumphal arches and including three riding schools, lecture rooms and stables (all demolished). This was one of the largest sites for military accommodation of its day in England. Shares a compositional system with Wyatt's other large artillery barracks at Brompton to create a more impressive facade. The officers' mess contains the best surviving barracks interior from its period, within one of the finest examples of military architecture in the country .
(The Buildin~ of England: Pevsner N: London 2: South: London:1989-: 290; Plan and elevation: 1774-: PRO, WO78/1281, 1608).TQ 4377
Listing NGR: TQ4310478322
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.