Peninsula Barracks, Winchester

Peninsula Barracks have a long and fascinating history but these spectacular buildings in the town centre were, until recently, almost unknown to Winchesters residents as the former home to the Royal Green Jackets was barred from public view.

The Upper Barracks are Edwardian and were built in the style of the Sir Christopher Wren palace which had been partially built for Charles II and destroyed by fire in 1894. The lower Barracks are largely Victorian. Once the buildings had been made redundant their future was in the balance. The owners of the barracks, The Ministry of Defence and the Crown Estate commissioned a scheme for the lower barracks. The property developer in charge of the work proposed tearing down all of the buildings, except the 1850s chapel, and filling the site with high density housing. It was proposed that the Upper Barracks would be left intact and possibly used for student hostels.

Luckily the property developer went bankrupt and we seized the opportunity to prepare an alternative scheme which would regenerate the entire site.

In Beauty or The Bulldozer SAVE along with local architect Huw Thomas drew up a scheme to reuse the existing buildings by converting them into 100 homes whilst at the same time opening up 5 acres of parks and gardens which had been closed to the public for 300 years. This scheme as well as being the most desirable for the site was also shown to be the most commercially viable as well and planning permission was granted in March 1995.

The Scheme was completed in 1998 and mixes residential use with museums, a cinema and hotel use and has been praised by the Ministry of Defence as a model of how redundant military sites can be adapted for the benefit of the local community.

Huw Thomas Architects are based in Winchester. They have also worked with SAVE on our most recent restoration poject, 6 Palace Street, Caernarfon. Beauty or the Bulldozer is available from SAVE for £2 (including post and packing). Visit our publications page or contact us for more information.