Hillsborough Barracks

Hillsborough Barracks is a walled complex of buildings between Langsett Road and Penistone Road in the Hillsborough District of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.


The complex covers an area of circa 22 acres (89,000 m2) and dates from 1848, replacing an inadequate barracks at Hillfoot at an estimated cost of £94,000.


Military requirements

Sheffield has good road and railway links to all points of the compass and is also close to the geographic centre of Great Britain. This makes it a prime location for a large military barracks.


A barracks was required to house


The buildings

The barracks is divided into three terraces. The first (top) terrace faces onto what is now Langsett Road. This contained the Mess establishment, quarters for around 40 officers and a similar number of servants, and a chapel. This building has a length of about 354 feet (108 m) and a width and height of about 40 feet (12 m), is three storeys high and has a mixture of gothic and castellated styles.


The other buildings of the barracks consisted off:


  • A large five bedroomed house serving as the Garrison Commander’s Quarters outside the walls
  • A 58-patient two storey hospital incorporating a barracks for RAMC personnel, a Dental Clinic and a facility for treating women
  • Infantry soldiers' quarters
  • A clock towered building, with Cavalry soldiers' quarters on the first floor and stabling for 260 horses on the ground floor (total accommodation for 918 NCO and other ranks)
  • A Gymnasium
  • A Riding School
  • A school for 80 children and accommodation for the schoolmistress
  • Married quarters flats for 50 families provided outside the walls
  • A Gun Shed housing six Field guns
  • The Barracks Store with living quarters for the Barracks Sergeant
  • A Guard Room, incorporating a Police Room, Detention Cells, and an exercise yard
  • A Vehicle Shed (built in 1903) which could house 26 motor cars
  • A Veterinary Infirmary, large enough to house 18 horses
  • A Granary
  • Four cookhouses
  • And various workshops

Water supply

The barracks had its own water supply, fed from the nearby Rawson Spring on the facing hillside towards Walkley. The spring kept 21 underground tanks filled with over half a million gallons of water. The smallest tank held 12,000 gallons, the biggest 50,000 gallons. It was rumoured at the time that this water supply would be for the benefit of Sheffield’s gentry who would seek refuge in the barracks in the event of an uprising.


With entrances on both the Langsett and Penistone Roads it was considered to be amongst the finest and best arranged barracks in the kingdom, and as a military depot it ranked amongst the largest in the country.


The Great Sheffield Flood

On the northern side of the Barracks runs the River Loxley. On the night of Friday 11 March 1864 the ill-fated Dale Dyke Dam further up the Loxley Valley at Bradfield burst and the resulting flood waters breached a stone wall that was three feet thick. The water reached a height of about 60 feet (18 m) above normal river water level, and drowned two children of Sergeant Paymaster Foulds in the Married Quarters.


Army units

Army units to have been stationed include:


  • 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards in 1856
  • 98th (Prince of Wales's) Foot in 1856
  • 7th (the Princess Royal's) Dragoon Guards in 1857
  • 24th (Warwickshire) Foot in 1859
  • 58th (Rutlandshire) Foot in 1861
  • 16th (Bedfordshire) Foot in 1861
  • 22nd (Cheshire) Foot in 1870
  • E Battery Royal Horse Artillery in the 1870s
  • A Squadron 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) in 1897
  • 6th Battalion (Louth Militia) Royal Irish Rifles in 1899
  • Volunteers from the Yorkshire Dragoons and Yorkshire Hussars underwent training at the Barracks in preparation for the Boer War in 1900
  • 32nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery in 1901
  • 2nd Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in 1905
  • 2nd Battalion The Cheshire (22nd) Regiment in 1920

The last Army unit ( 29th Field (Howitzer ) Battery left the Barracks in February 1930, leaving the Barracks unoccupied except for a resident caretaker.


Sale

On 26 July 1932, an auction was held on the instructions of the War Department by Eadon & Lockwood at Sheffield. However, when bidding reached only £12,000, the auction was terminated and the Barracks withdrawn from sale. In October of that year, the complex was sold to Burdall’s Ltd, a manufacturing chemist noted for its gravy salt, and it became known as the Burdall’s Buildings.


Redevelopment

A major redevelopment of the site was embarked upon in the late 1980s. The result is the large retail and business complex seen today, in which all the surviving structures have been cleaned of the grime from Sheffield's industrial past. The focus of the complex is the Morrisons Supermarket covering the old Artillery Parade Ground, which has been roofed for the purpose and is fronted by the clock towered stable block. The old Infantry Parade Ground is now a two-storey car park between the Stable Block and the old Officer Mess (now the headquarters for Sheffield Insulations Ltd). The old football ground and rifle range are now a B&Q DIY Superstore. The Married Quarters which served as flats until the end of the 1970s were demolished and the area is now a McDonald's Drive-through Restaurant. The Garrison Commander’s House was demolished and its site is now covered with a garage and petrol station. The old guard room is now the Garrison Hotel and Jailhouse Bar. The hospital building is now Skills for Business, part of Sheffield College. Sheffield College is part of Hillsborough College.


Other buildings within the site serve as a Jobcentre Plus, Clark and Partners and the headquarters of the Coalfield Pensions Scheme.


The whole site is once again known as Hillsborough Barracks. As a Grade II listed building, it represents the only surviving example of a walled barracks within the UK.


Hillsborough Interchange has been built beside the barracks and provides good transport links.