Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 09, 2016
Webpage updated: May 30, 2019

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In February 1898 Messrs Matcham & Company, of Plymouth, won the contract to build a new accommodation block for 1,000 men.  This was to be sited overlooking Weston Mill Lake but in line with the existing blocks.  The second part of the contract was for new officers' quarters, which were to include a spacious mess hall.  This was to be built to the south of the existing officers' quarters and adjacent to the grounds of the captain's residence.  Although the exterior would be similar to the existing buildings the interior would be on a more elaborate scale.  The Admiralty were at that time in negotiations for the purchase of a further seven to eight acres of land upon which to create a gunnery school to replace HMS "Cambridge".


Work on the extension started in March 1898 and in May 1900 "The Naval and Military Record" reported that it now consisted of five blocks, two for the men at the northern end of the Barracks and three for the officers at the southern end.  The work was being carried out under the direct supervision of Mr Munro Wilson, Admiralty civil engineer, acting on behalf of Major E R Kenyon, Royal Engineers, the superintending engineer.


It was hoped to complete work on the men's accommodation block by the end of 1900.  Although externally similar to the existing blocks it was much improved inside.  On the ground floors were the stores and lavatories, with the accommodation above.  The cook-house and the latrines were placed between the two new buildings, similar to the existing ones.  Of the Officers' Mess and Officers' Quarters, which it was hoped would be finished by the end of 1901, the centre block, which was to have a belvedere look-out tower at the top, was to contain the mess-room, a library, a billiard-room, a breakfast-room, kitchens and stores.  The other two blocks consisted of private rooms only.  The block was opened in January 1903 with a Grand Ball to which some six hundred people were invited.


Outside the Barracks, Keyham Station was under construction, the tramways were being laid and the Keyham Steam Yard Gate was about to be moved in line with Saint Levan Road.