This robust three-storey stone building was built between 1826 and 1828 to accommodate over 240 British soldiers in three 19-bed rooms, nine 16-bed rooms, and six attic rooms. The barracks’ capacity grew after workers added a married soldiers residence by building six dormers in the attic rooms in 1863.
Although its ordered and relatively symmetrical design is classed as a mix of Georgian and Palladian, it is very much a utilitarian structure as evidenced by the lack of ornament, largely rubble stone walls, and the exterior circulation via the river-side balconies. Records are inconclusive as to who was the architect, although it may have been designed by John Woolford. After the departure of Imperial troops in 1869, the Barracks housed a myriad of tenants, including a teacher-training facility, a Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and paradoxically, a liquor warehouse.
When the entire Military Compound was declared a National Historic Site in 1964, the barracks’ exterior was restored to its 1865 appearance, with one interior suite restored and open to the public. Of note is the sundial on the east wall – a reconstruction of the original that told the time to the citizens of Fredericton in the 19th century; and a plaque honouring the 104th Regiment who made a 700-mile, 52-day march to Quebec and Kingston during the winter of 1813, with no loss of men!
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