|HCC Site ID:||1780||Parish:||Winchester|
|Designations:||Barracks LB II||Area:||Small|
|Access:||Public Throughfare||Ownership:||Private residences|
Peninsula Barracks, 2004
Location and Site
The Peninusla Barracks are situated in Winchester, the current site is in two distinct parts, the Upper Barracks on the higher ground to the west and the Lower Barracks to the east. The Upper Barracks is entered from the Romsey Road by the former guard house now the site of the Adjutant General’s Corps Museum, formally opened by HM the Queen in 2003. The Lower Barracks may be entered from Southgate Street. Winding tarmac walkways and stone steps on different levels link the two Barrack sites to each other.
Peninsula Barracks can trace its history back to Roman times and it has been a military place since the Middle Ages.
The Barracks were vacated by the army in the 1980s and made available for redevelopment. Private apartments and town houses of a classical design by architects Huw Thomas Ltd. were built on the former parade ground of the Upper Barracks and set around a formal courtyard. Listed 19th C buildings on the site are incorporated. These include the elegant building erected 1899-1902 to replace the building called the King’s House that was the only completed part of Sir Christopher Wren’s design for a magnificent palace for Charles II, intended perhaps to rival Versailles. The columns and decorative masonry of the main portico are taken from Wren’s palace. The elegant winged building now consists of private apartments.
The formal layout of the Upper Barracks Square is set around a grand pond, its raised sides of red brick and stone picking up the fabric of surrounding buildings. Fountains add to the formality. The predominantly pedestrian area is made up of gravel chips, sunken bricks and paving. Small areas of lawn relieve the gravel and hard surfaces. The paths are interspersed with raised beds of lavender and compact evergreen shrubs. Yew ‘soldiers’ add impact and are of a manageable height. Seats are located in the area around the pond for rest and contemplation, but the area would have been enhanced by the provision of mature trees to provide some shade on a hot summer day.
The finest view from the Upper Barracks Square is obtained in the southeast corner where the Great Tower of Winchester Castle once stood. From here the view takes in the nearby former St. Thomas’s Church, Winchester Cathedral and the broad sweep of St. Catherine’s Hill. The Lower Barracks is more informal in layout and comprises Victorian buildings once used by the military and the more recent development of properties overlooking the green.
An historical site with strong military connections dating from William the conqueror; Redeveloped as private apartments and town houses in the 1980s; listed 19th century buildings incorporated; sympathetically landscaped grounds with public access.