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Former Weedon Barracks, Storehouse Number 2

A Grade II* Listed Building in Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.2306 / 52°13'50"N

Longitude: -1.081 / 1°4'51"W

OS Eastings: 462863

OS Northings: 259548

OS Grid: SP628595

Mapcode National: GBR 9TW.3J2

Mapcode Global: VHCVM.66WD

Entry Name: Former Weedon Barracks, Storehouse Number 2

Listing Date: 29 April 1987

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1076515

English Heritage Legacy ID: 360828

Location: Weedon Bec, Daventry, Northamptonshire, NN7

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Weedon Bec

Built-Up Area: Weedon Bec

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Weedon Bec St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

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Listing Text


1732/16/182 BRIDGE STREET
(West side)

Warehouse. 1804-10, and one of an even-numbered group to the south side of the canal. Internally remodelled 1889 (drawings in Royal Engineers Library W6-8, 802), after fire. Flemish bond red brick with gauged brick dressings to arches, hipped slate replacing M-shaped Welsh roof. Rectangular plan with central vestibule with stairs opening into flanking storerooms. 2 storeys, 11-window range to north elevation facing canal. Central doors with 12-panel double-leaf doors flanked by stone pilasters supporting Doric entablature with cambered arches over tripartite sash windows above. Similar wider blocked doorways either end, with similar windows above. Semi-circular arched ground-floor windows, being 2-light wooden casements of late C19 date, set in semi-circular arched recesses. Late C19 horned 6/6-pane sashes to first floor. Centre and ends project slightly. Plinth and first-floor string course. Brick parapet. The south elevation is similar but makes use of the fall of the land to accommodate a basement storey; this is treated in a robust classical manner, with grey sandstone vermiculated rustication and semi-circular arches over original nail-studded plank doors beneath louvred tympanae. The centre bay projects, having iron railings that open out to the central loading area. There is a short section of retaining wall, with steps rising to canal basin area, to either end. Interior: basement has brick tunnel vaults to each bay. 3 rows of stop-chamfered timber posts with pillow beams support first floor. Unusually this warehouse has retained a number of original features, including panelled double-leaf doors, although the staircase has been removed. 1889 metal roof trusses, and iron columns to jack arches in right-hand section and stone staircase with iron balustrade of same period. Semi-circular arched doorways, set in semi-circular arched recesses, provide access to storerooms.

HISTORY: The Storehouse and Magazine group at Weedon Bec was planned and built during the Napoleonic Wars as a unique planned military-industrial complex, complete with its own defensible transport system and surrounding walls.
The major Ordnance Depots - which were built for the storage and later the manipulation of guns, their ammunition and propellants - were concentrated around the naval dockyards at Plymouth, Portsmouth and Chatham. Major outliers were located at Purfleet on the Thames ( where the 1760s magazine and proof house survive) and at Weedon Bec in Northamptonshire, whose location made it the ideal choice for a central ammunition depot, served by the Grand Union Canal and close to the small arms factories and workshops of Birmingham.
Weedon¿s location next to the Grand Union Canal made it the ideal choice in 1802 for a central ammunition depot, as it was close to the small arms factories and workshops of Birmingham and also far away from the more vulnerable defended coastal areas and the other ordnance yards that were mainly sited close to the royal naval dockyards. The original plans to build a small arms factory were abandoned, and instead Weedon became the first inland depot of the Board of Ordnance ¿ as early as 1807 it supplied armaments for the expeditionary force bound for the Netherlands. From 1837 the storehouses were used as barracks and as a prison (Nos 5 and 7 being converted for this purpose), and from 1855 as a clothing store. In the 1870s it was converted into one of the Depots created under the army reforms of Edward Cardwell, the Secretary of State for War, and from 1885 as a weapons and equipment store. A large Clothing Store was built during the Boer war of 1899-1902, from which date the site retained an important role in taking small arms and clothes prior to dispatch by rail. After closure in 1965, it was used as a government supply store.

Four functionally separate sites marked the planning of Weedon Bec¿s major first phase of 1804-16. These were the Storehouse Enclosure, the Magazine Compound, the Barracks (demolished) and housing (known as the Pavilion) for the Depot¿s principal officials (demolished), such as the Storekeeper and the Clerk of Cheque. The latter groups were built on high ground to the north, close to the Daventry-London road, and were clearly designed to both complement and enhance the effect of the storehouse and magazine groups set on lower ground to the south, especially as viewed from Weedon Bec. What survives comprises a unique planned military-industrial complex, complete with its own defensible transport system and defensible perimeter walls. The canal widens into a large central basin, flanked by pedestrian bridges, in the centre of the Storehouse Enclosure. The gatehouses at its west and east ends were provided with winding gear for operating portcullis gates that provided further defensive measures. Casemates are formed in the angles of the walls, which are surmounted by bomb-proof layers of sand and gravel capped by a layer of bricks and finally a stone-flag walkway, which is accessed by ramps with stone-paved stairs and runways for the deployment of small artillery pieces. The Magazine Compound was separated by an open area of over 200 metres, as protection against the effects of possible explosion, and was extended westwards by an additional magazine and earthen traverse in about 1857. The storehouses ¿ which principally housed muskets, guns and their carriages - are comparable in their consistently high treatment as a planned group to those found in late 18th century naval dockyards, most notably at Portsmouth and Chatham, and the finest set-pieces of early 19th century civil dock warehousing, such as John Foster¿s Goree Warehouses of 1810 in Liverpool¿s George¿s Dock and Telford and Hardwick¿s work for the St Katherine Docks Company in London. This quality treatment, especially marked on the south elevations with their rusticated basements, is repeated internally, where even the heavy axial beams have had their supporting posts chamfered with scrolled stops. Although the magazines - built to the distinctive British double-vaulted plan - are smaller in terms of their individual scale than other contemporary examples, as a group they had no rival until the suite of traversed magazines were built at Bull Point, Plymouth, in the 1850s. Catenary arches as used here were first used at Tipner in the 1790s and then Colonel D¿Arcy¿s magazine at Upnor. The use of traverses makes the group highly innovatory in terms of its planning, blast walls of earth (sometimes faced in brick) being henceforth a characteristic features of magazine complexes. These traverses have also uniquely assumed an architectural form.

As a unique planned military-industrial complex, complete with its own defensible transport system and surrounding walls, the national importance of the Storehouse and Magazine group at Weedon Bec is also enhanced by their intended role within the context of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

(Adam Menuge and Andrew Williams, Royal Ordnance Depot, Weedon Bec, RCHME Report, National Monuments Record No. 97080; Williams, B. (2003) Captain Pilkington¿s Project. The Great Works at Weedon 1804 to 1816. Daventry: privately published; Liv Gibbs, Conservation Management Plan: Storehouse Enclosure, Royal Ordnance Depot, Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire, Historic Environment Consultancy, 2005).

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

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