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Entrance block at Maindy Barracks

A Grade II Listed Building in Cathays, Cardiff

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Latitude: 51.4984 / 51°29'54"N

Longitude: -3.1862 / 3°11'10"W

OS Eastings: 317756

OS Northings: 178387

OS Grid: ST177783

Mapcode National: GBR KGD.JT

Mapcode Global: VH6F6.QLGN

Entry Name: Entrance block at Maindy Barracks

Listing Date: 22 October 2001

Last Amended: 22 October 2001

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 25828

Building Class: Defence

Location: In its own grounds with parade square on the N side.

County: Cardiff

Town: Cardiff

Community: Cathays

Community: Cathays

Locality: Maindy

Built-Up Area: Cardiff

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Maindy Barracks was built in 1877 and was first occupied by the Royal Glamorgan Militia. The Militia was superseded in 1881 by the newly formed Welch Regiment and it remained the headquarters of the regiment until its amalgamation in 1969 with the 1st Battalion of the South Wales Borderers to form the Royal Regiment of Wales.

The barracks, also originally known as a 'localisation depot', was built under the auspices of the Localisation Act of 1872, which instigated the first national barrack-building campaign to be undertaken in peacetime. These are also referred to as the 'Cardwell reforms', after Edward Cardwell, Secretary of State for War 1868-74 who implemented a range of reforming policies. Regimental depots were established in populous districts to provide a focus for recruitment, and raised the profile of the army by giving it a powerful visual presence in the civilian community. The War Office issued standard designs for barracks, although local variations were permitted, particularly in the choice of materials. The central square keep with corner turrets, recalling medieval defensive architecture, was the chief architectural characteristic of the period, and was given local character at Maindy by the use of Pennant sandstone, although the margin-lit sash windows and other details were used universally throughout Britain. Maindy was also characteristic of the period in its overall layout around a central parade square, and incorporated many of the innovations of the period such as a school and married men's quarters in addition to the normal barrack rooms and officers' quarters, and had one of the earliest depot hospitals.


A symmetrically planned barrack block, composed of a square 3-storey central keep with long and lower 2-storey wings and projecting end bays with crow-stepped gables and moulded kneelers. Of snecked rock-faced stone with Bath stone dressings and quoins, and slate roof. Windows have plain mullions and transoms and incorporate 2-pane sashes with marginal glazing bars. The keep has projecting corner turrets, higher on the R side, and embattled parapet on a corbel table. A central through passage has a segmental arch with 2 orders of chamfer, which has a doorway L with shouldered lintel, and a narrow guard-room window to the R. The middle and upper storeys have 3-light windows flanked by single-light outer windows. The L-hand turret has 2 windows in the lower storey, stepped stair lights in the middle storey and 3 narrow windows to the upper storey under a relieving arch. The R-hand turret has 3 windows in each storey, narrower in the lower storey, and 2 vents in the gable.

The 8-window wing to the R has plain cornice and corbels, single, 2-light and 3-light windows, and R of centre is a replaced panelled door below an overlight. The 2-window projecting gable at the end has 3-light windows in the lower storey and 2-light mullioned and transomed windows above. The gable has stepped vents. A single-storey projection against the end wall has a lean-to behind.

The 9-window wing L of the central tower has single, 2-light, 3-light and 4-light windows, while L of centre are double panelled doors with side and mullioned overlight, all with marginal glazing bars. A shallow projection under a hipped roof is at the R end, in the angle with the central tower. The L-hand projecting end bay has three 2-light windows under relieving arches in the upper storey. The central 2-light window in the lower storey has been cut down for a doorway. Of the flanking single-light windows, the L side has been cut down to make a doorway and subsequently blocked. An added 2-window projection is set slightly back. It has a roof concealed behind a coped parapet. A 2-light window is on the R side, and a small-pane sash window to the L. The 5-window L end wall has replaced single-light windows, and a central doorway with overlight (both boarded up at the time of inspection).

The rear elevation faces the parade square. The central keep has a rear elevation similar to the front. Its central passage is flanked on each side by doorways with shouldered lintels, above which are cross-shaped lights. The turret on the L side has stepped stair lights in each storey, and in its L side wall. The R-hand turret has 3-light windows, with similar windows in the R side wall.

The 9-window wing on the R has single-, 2-light and 3-light windows, with steps up to ground-floor doorways, and steps down to the armouries in the basement. A central doorway has a diagonal boarded door, and R and L of centre are half-lit doors with diagonal boarding. The end gabled bay has two 2-light windows in each storey, R of which the original elevation continues with a single 2-light window, beyond which is the added projection, with fielded-panel door. The 9-window wing on the L side of the keep has 2 equally placed 2-storey embattled porches to the original officers' quarters. Between these porches are 2-light and single-light windows, with half-lit boarded door to the R end. The porches have steps up to a doorway with shouldered lintel leading into an open porch. Inside are double half-lit doors with diagonal boarding. In the upper storey is a 3-light window with stepped central light above a transom, and embattled parapet. Further L are single and 2-light windows, then another similar projecting bay, with 2-light and single-light windows further L. The gabled end bay has a recessed porch on the L side with shouldered lintel, inside which are half-lit double doors and overlight. To the R of the porch is a 3-light window. In the upper storey are a 2-light window L and 3-light R, with 3 stepped vents in the gable. A lean-to set back on the L side has a sash window to the lower storey and attic, a diagonal-boarded door and overlight to the L, and a projection with 2-light window.

Reasons for Listing

Listed for its architectural interest as a barracks characteristic of the period, providing a strong visual impact in the Maindy district, and as an integral component of one of the best-preserved regimental depots in Wales erected under the Cardwell reforms of the 1870s.

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