History in Structure

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Detroit & St Vincent block at Maindy Barracks

A Grade II Listed Building in Cathays, Cardiff

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Latitude: 51.4985 / 51°29'54"N

Longitude: -3.1875 / 3°11'15"W

OS Eastings: 317662

OS Northings: 178401

OS Grid: ST176784

Mapcode National: GBR KGD.7S

Mapcode Global: VH6F6.PLRL

Plus Code: 9C3RFRX6+CX

Entry Name: Detroit & St Vincent block at Maindy Barracks

Listing Date: 22 October 2001

Last Amended: 22 October 2001

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 25831

Building Class: Defence

Location: On the W side of the parade square.

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 The Militia was superseded in 1881 by the newly formed Welch Regiment and it remained the headquarters of the regiment until its amalgamation in 1969 with the 1st Battalion of the South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. Local character at Maindy Barracks was achieved by the use of Pennant sandstone and slate roof. 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.


Two parallel 2-storey 19-bay wings joined by an added 2-storey gabled wing set between them. Of coursed rock-faced Pennant sandstone and freestone bands and cornice, and slate roof behind coped gables on moulded kneelers. The windows are all replaced in original openings. Each main wing faces E, Detroit on the E side and St Vincent behind it, and is symmetrical with the 3 central bays under an advanced gable. The Detroit wing has a central doorway with double boarded doors and round-headed overlight, paired windows in the bays R and L, under relieving arches in the upper storey, and a tripartite window upper centre with stone mullions and round-headed tympanum with plate tracery. It has a round clock in the apex with dressed surround and regimental motto on corbels. There are 8 bays L and R of the central gable.

The gable ends have external stacks cut down beneath the apex, and flanked by narrow vents in the gable. The rear of the Detroit wing has 9 bays either side of a central link, with windows similar to the front, added escape door with stair upper L, and doorway inserted in the bay set back from the L end. The link between the 2 wings is comprised of single-bay projections with roofs behind coped parapets, and a 3-bay gabled wing between. The front of St Vincent is similar to Detroit, with the link occupying the central bay, as are the gable ends. The rear of the St Vincent block has 8 bays either side of narrow V-shaped bays flanking a shallow lean-to to the centre with replaced double doors under a relieving arch and tripartite window above with mullions and transom.

Reasons for Listing

Listed, notwithstanding replacement of windows, 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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