ⓘ Cambridge Barracks, Portsmouth

                                     

ⓘ Cambridge Barracks, Portsmouth

The barracks were created by converting some late-18th century warehouses into military accommodation in 1825. The site had previously been a large timber-yard and carpenters workshops, it was purchased by the government during the Napoleonic Wars and converted into an immense stores complex for the Commissariat responsible for supplying food, fuel and forage to the troops. These former warehouses are still in place, forming an asymmetrical open courtyard at the south-west end of what is now Portsmouth Grammar School: they stand three storeys high and originally contained open-plan store rooms accessed through external hoist doors on each storey. In October 1825 each floor was converted to form barrack rooms, the 9th Regiment Fusileers was the first to occupy the new barracks. At that time a guard-house formed the fourth side of the quadrangle.

In 1856-58 the barracks were expanded and improved to create housing for the regiments in transit operations overseas. In the officers cabins were built facing the high Street, with a large dining room on the ground floor. Some distance behind him so as to form a large parade ground long, three-story barracks soldiers was erected containing a number of parallel barrack rooms on either side of a Central office section, with cook-house in the South-Western end, connecting it the old barrack blocks. Around the same time that the barracks were named in honor of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, who died recently. Subsequently, a two-storey unit, between the old barracks quadrangle and the new officers quarters, containing offices for the commander and others.

In January 1887 there was a serious gas explosion at the site where five members of the Worcestershire regiment were killed and fourteen were injured. 1st battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, was on her way to the barracks, at the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.

The barracks was abandoned, and it was in disrepair after the First world war. Cabins of the officers was purchased by the Portsmouth grammar school in 1926. The soldiers barracks were originally United in the adjacent barracks of Clarence, later, they also purchased the school, which now covers the entire former site of the barracks. The school library occupies the former officers mess.