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Main Building, Royal Military Academy

A Grade II* Listed Building in Woolwich Common, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4758 / 51°28'32"N

Longitude: 0.0588 / 0°3'31"E

OS Eastings: 543078

OS Northings: 177208

OS Grid: TQ430772

Mapcode National: GBR NK.MJ9

Mapcode Global: VHHNQ.Y5ZJ

Entry Name: Main Building, Royal Military Academy

Listing Date: 8 June 1973

Last Amended: 8 July 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1358936

English Heritage Legacy ID: 200184

Location: Greenwich, London, SE18

County: London

District: Greenwich

Electoral Ward/Division: Woolwich Common

Built-Up Area: Greenwich

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Woolwich St Mary Magdalene with St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

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Listing Text

ACADEMY ROAD, SE18
(east side)
786/31/70
Main Building, Royal Military Academy

GV 8/6/73 II*

Military academy, library, barracks, offices and mess, now library and offices. 1805-8, by James Wyatt, Surveyor General, extended 1862, partly rebuilt after 1873 fire, and c1902. Brown and red Flemish bond brick, with brown stucco and Portland stone dressing, brick stacks, and slate hipped roofs. Gothick style with Tudor Revival style additions.
PLAN: three symmetrical courtyards, with a central double-depth square library and flanking offices, double-depth 1862 end blocks, all connected by arcades, rear central dining hall and early C20 officers' mess, and 1862 side ranges of cadet's quarters.
EXTERIOR: 2-storey; 3:4:9:8:6:8:9:4:3-window front range. Long symmetrical front with the central library and flanking blocks connected by single-storey arcades, with matching front and rear elevations. The library has a low plinth with roll moulding, rolltop coping to the parapet which is raised to the centre of the front with a clock, 3-storey octagonal corner towers with crenellated parapets and leaded ogee domes with fmia1s, and square stair towers to the centre of each side; label moulds and chamfered stucco surrounds to ground-floor flat-headed windows with 4/4-pane sashes and wide central mullions, and 2-centre arched first-floor 3/2-pane sashes with Tudor-arched top lights. The towers have windows to alternate faces, and small square lights to the top floor. The main entrance set in a projecting crenellated surround with tall flanking buttresses, a Tudor-arched doorway with splayed reveals and quatrefoils in spandrels, 2-centre arched 4-light overlights and side lights, and double panelled doors. In the centre of the rear elevation is a small ground-floor sundial and a wrought-iron lamp bracket. Flanking blocks have matching plinth and crenellated parapet, and flat-headed ground- and first-floor windows; the middle 3-window range set forward and with a third storey with square casements, and the corners have thin octagonal stucco turrets with loops. Doorways to the centre of all three sections have projecting ashlar dwarf walls with steps up to double 4-panel doors with 6/6-pane overlights; over the central doorway is a curved iron lamp bracket and lamp. Connecting passages between the front blocks have crenellated stucco fronts with open Tudor arches, those to the 4-bay outer passages glazed with Perpendicular Gothic glazing bars. To the rear of the library is an enclosed courtyard with walls extending back to square, crenellated 3-storey towers with flat-headed windows as the flanking blocks, connected by 5-bay Tudor-arched arcades, that to the N with mid C20 infill, and a central dining hall, with angle buttresses, 4-light 2-centre arched E window with mid C20 tracery, and a square moulded stack rising from the top of the coped gable; 5-bay sides with 2-centre arched windows with C20 y -tracery .Bright red brick 1862 corner blocks each have crenellated parapets, a projecting full-height porch with full-height canted bay and Tudor-arched doorway, labels and rendered surrounds to cross windows with plate-glass casements, and wide 7 -light mullion and transom windows to each side with Tudor arched top lights.
To the rear extend synunetrical18-bay side ranges with plinth and crenellated parapet, projecting ~ 3-storey; 2-window end blocks have taller canted turrets to the inner sides with doorways with canted - lintels, similar paired 1-window central sections flanking a central archway beneath a large stair light, and ~ 2-storey ranges between with 2 doorways, with label moulds and raised surrounds to openings. Doors ~ with strap hinges and overlights.
2-storey porch on the N end, and windows as the front block. Rear range of lower, 1808 buildings includes the mess buildings, dated 1901 and 02 with Royal Artillery coats of arms, around a small courtyard.
INTERIOR: the central library has a panelled front lobby, good cantilevered stone Imperial stairs with cast-iron brackets in the side stair towers; fine bookcases with 4-centre arches, banded columns and crenellated cresting, and 2 good marble fireplaces with octagonal columns and foliate capitals; dining hall has N end fireplace, and late C19 hammer beam roof Flanking blocks have transverse dogleg stairs with column newels and stick balusters; front arcades have mock vaulted ceilings. 1862 corner blocks have former classrooms with coffered plaster ceilings, good grey marble fireplaces to ground and first floors, and central lateral cantilevered stone stairs with decorated cast-iron balusters and arched brackets to the landing. 1901 mess rooms have panelled walls.
HISTORY: the Academy was for gunnery cadets, originally within the Woolwich Arsenal; students moved in 1808. Like Wyatt's Fonthil1 Abbey, modelled on the Tower of London and using artificial stone, with the plan and many original details little altered. Originally included classrooms over the central library and offices, ablution blocks each side, quarters in the front flanking blocks, gardens in the courtyards behind and racquet courts, replaced by the 1862 quarters and class rooms.
An outstanding example of Wyatt's Gothick style, and one of the most important pieces of military architecture in the country .
(The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: London 2: South: London:1989-: 289; Records of the Royal Military Academy 1741-1892: Woolwich: 1892-; Lysons D: Environs of London: London: 1811-: 586).

Listing NGR: TQ4307877208

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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