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Keep at Whittington Barracks

A Grade II Listed Building in Whittington, Staffordshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6603 / 52°39'37"N

Longitude: -1.7758 / 1°46'32"W

OS Eastings: 415262

OS Northings: 306978

OS Grid: SK152069

Mapcode National: GBR 4F3.7VC

Mapcode Global: WHCGW.PDLD

Plus Code: 9C4WM66F+4M

Entry Name: Keep at Whittington Barracks

Listing Date: 16 July 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393381

English Heritage Legacy ID: 505773

Location: Whittington, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS14

County: Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Whittington

Built-Up Area: Whittington Barracks

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Whittington St Giles

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

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Description

LICHFIELD

1094-1/0/10026 TAMWORTH ROAD
16-JUL-09 Keep at Whittington Barracks

II
Double keep completed in 1881 under the supervision of Major HC Seddon, Royal Engineers, Director of the Design Branch.

EXTERIOR: Built in the style of a medieval donjon, the keep straddles the pair of main original entrances on the north western edge of the barracks. The red brick, in English bond, building with blue brick sill and lintel banding, stands three storeys high, with a small basement and flat roof. The cambered arched windows with stone sills have original sash fittings. Three turrets attached to the outer face have loop windows, a large recessed rectangular panel at roof level and a crenellated top carried on stepped corbelling. The two western turrets protrude beyond the line of the perimeter wall. The western elevation is asymmetrical with the northern turret being taller and possessing a portrait orientated recessed panel. On the roof are two magazine buildings complete with original loop windows and air vents.

INTERIOR: Access to the keep is through doors situated in each of the turrets, each of which contains an original stairwell with concrete stairs and iron balustrade. The eastern one provided access to both parts of the keep and previously contained a lift. Originally, there were two large rooms on each floor separated by a substantial brick wall. These have been sub-divided by a single partition. The floors and ceilings are carried on girders supported by cast-iron columns. In places, false ceilings have been inserted. On the ground floor the original metal window shutters complete with gun loops survive.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES
Perimeter wall: Red brick in English bond with rounded blue brick coping. The outer face has a pair of blue brick bands at gun loop lintel and sill level. Attached to the inner face of the wall adjacent to the keep is a brick built firing platform with stone top and three gun loops. Next to this is a brick blocked gateway complete with brick and stone piers with corbelled band and chamfered stone top. North of this is a blocked pedestrian doorway with cambered arch and two further gun loops.

HISTORY
Whittington Barracks were built as part of a far reaching national modernisation programme carried out by the Secretary of State for War, Edward Cardwell during the 1870's. Work on the barracks started around 1877, was carried out by Harry Lovatt & Son of Wolverhampton and was completed by 1881 when they were occupied by the 1st and 2nd South Staffordshire Regiments and the 1st and 2nd North Staffordshire Regiments.

Edward Cardwell, appointed to the War Office in 1868, addressed a chronic recruitment issue through a process of reform set out in the Localisation Act of 1872. He set up a network of local depots each centred on an area with a population large enough to sustain it, rather than based on operational needs. It was the first national barrack building initiative in England during peacetime.
Across Britain 29 new depots, including Whittington, were built from scratch, while about 40 existing barracks were adapted. The building programme was under the supervision of Major HC Seddon, Royal Engineers, Director of the Design Branch. The new barracks conformed to a standard model with local variations, and incorporated many of the improvements for which the Army Sanitation Commission and its predecessors had called.

The keep (or armoury) was built to provide high security storage for the barracks, but was also designed to dominate visually as an expression of military strength. They were architecturally the most overtly military buildings on the sites, often as at Whittington with a medieval flavour. They were self-consciously designed to attract new recruits and alter the image of the army.

Sources: Tony Scott with Maurice Beedle, Whittington Barracks 125 Years of History
Plans provided by Defence Estates
James Douet, British Barracks 1600-1914, English Heritage, 1998
http://www.army.mod.uk/4298.aspx Accessed 3rd September 2008
http://www.birminghammail.net/news/staffordshire-news/2008/07/21/200m-medical-centre-plan-unveiled-for-whittington-barracks-97319-21378950/ Accessed 3rd September 2008
http://www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/site/scripts/planning_list.php?location2Text=whittington+barracks Accessed 3rd September

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION
The keep at Whittington Barracks is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is one of the best preserved keeps from this important national building programme following Cardwell's 1872 Localisation Act, which created a county framework for Army recruiting
* It demonstrates a conscious policy of using architecture as a promotional tool, rather than for purely operational purposes.
* In the context of C19 military history it is a building of special architectural and historic interest which, true to its purpose, is a prominent landmark.
* It has group value with other buildings on the site of national significance.

Reasons for Listing

The keep at Whittington Barracks is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is one the best preserved keeps from this important national building programme following Cardwell's 1872 Localisation Act, which created a county framework for Army recruiting
* It demonstrates a conscious policy of using architecture as a promotional tool, rather than for purely operational purposes.
* In the context of C19 military history it is a building of special architectural and historic interest which, true to its purpose, is a prominent landmark.
* It has group value with other buildings of national significance

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