Webpage created: February 02, 2016
Webpage updated: May 21, 2019
THE MILITARY IN OLD DEVONPORT
During the 18th century the threat of invasion, especially from the French or Spanish, meant that the Plymouth area was crowded with troops. The Royal Dockyard had been built at the end of the previous century and it eventually dawned on the Government that it might be a good idea if this arsenal was protected from landward attack. As a result the defences at Dock, known as "The Lines", were constructed.
Inside these "Lines" several barrack blocks, known as Squares, were erected in 1757. George's Square was the most southerly, followed by Cumberland, Ligonier and Frederick Squares between Cumberland Road and Fore Street and Granby Square and Marlborough Square to the north of Fore Street. At around the same time some houses in Clowance Street were purchased for emergency use and named the Racket-Court Barracks. Also dating from around this time was The Laboratory. The General Military Hospital was erected outside "The Lines" in 1797. Between 1820 and 1935 the officer commanding the Plymouth Garrison was based at Government House.
Granby Square was demolished between 1824 and 1830 and replaced with New Granby Barracks. Adjacent to the Army Ordnance Depot at Bull Point, in the parish of Saint Budeaux before oit was annexed to Devonport, the Bull Point Royal Artillery Barracks was built between 1851 and 1855 to guard the Depot and the northern approach to the Royal Dockyard. Between 1854 and 1858 the sites of Frederick, Ligonier, Cumberland, and George's Square, were transformed into Raglan Barracks and Marlborough Square was rebuilt as the Royal Horse Artillery Barracks. The Garrison Church of Saint Michael and Saint George was built to the south of Cumberland Road and a Military Families' Hospital was opened as part of the site. Many parades and reviews of the military took place on The Brickfields, in front of Raglan Barracks.
Allied to the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers was the Board of Ordnance, which supplied gunpowder to both the Army and the Royal Navy. Prior to the formation of Royal Naval Ordnance Depots, they operated the Powder Kilns at Bull Point, in the parish of Saint Budeaux, and the Powder Magazine at Keyham Point.
Raglan Barracks was condemned in 1937 and was due to be rebuilt but the Second World War intervened. The plan was not resumed after the war. Only the famous three-arched gatehouse now remains and the rest of the site has been covered in housing.
More recently military accommodation has been provided at
Vicarage Road Camp, which was used by the American forces
in the build-up to the D-day landings in 1944.