The Boyce Building, safely installed at Aldershot Military Museum. © Aldershot Military Museum
Aldershot Military Museum is celebrating a new arrival, after carefully negotiating a delicate moving process.
The star exhibit, unveiled on November 17 2006, is one of the largest additions to the museum’s collections in recent years: a complete barracks building.
Formerly a regimental administration office, the building has been meticulously moved, piece-by-piece, from the Queen Elizabeth Barracks at Church Crookham and carefully reconstructed at the Museum thanks to a £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Given the new name, the Boyce Building, the military admin block is now home to a new exhibition about the Queen Elizabeth (originally Boyce) Barracks together with a lecture room that will allow the museum to hold talks, accommodate school group visits and provide a space for community groups and businesses.
“Most of it is actually wooden and prefabricated, built in the late 1930s as part of the Aldershot Military camp for World War Two,” explained Sally Day, Curator at Aldershot Military Museum. “We took each piece of weatherboarding off and carefully marked its location and then were left with a frame that we had to unbolt and dismantle.”
The barracks before the removal at Church Crookham. © Aldershot Military Museum
The rest of the Barracks at Church Crookham are soon to be demolished and the exhibition in the saved building will allow visitors to explore the base’s history. The barracks have been at various times home to the Royal Army Service Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Corps of Transport and many battalions from the Gurkha Regiment before closing in 2000.
Aldershot boasts a long and proud military history, although a lot of its built heritage - its Victorian barrack buildings – were knocked down in the 1960s. Ironically, the buildings that replaced them are now also being replaced by the MOD, together with some of the surviving wartime pre-fabs.
“I personally think that although there have been a lot of these type of buildings around the country, they are not here forever so it’s nice to keep this type of architecture alive and well at the museum,” added Sally.
The Boyce Building will be open to the public from Saturday November 18, 2006.