Berwick-upon-Tweed Barracks and Main Guard

A New Vision for Berwick Barracks

 

English Heritage has teamed up with heritage and cultural organisations in Berwick-upon-Tweed, forming the Berwick Barracks Partnership, to launch a consultation on a new vision for the 18th century Berwick Barracks. As part of the consultation, we are seeking the views of the wider community on how the Barracks can continue to play a central role in community life.

March 2022

Cultural Development Fund

A grant of £4.2m from the Cultural Development Fund has been awarded to English Heritage on behalf of the Berwick Barracks Partnership. The funding represents an important next step in delivering the Living Barracks project, enabling the partners to better tell the Barracks’ dramatic and intriguing story, and creating a vibrant cultural hub for the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

The Vision

The vision sets out to develop the Barracks into a thriving cultural hub for the town, bringing empty buildings and spaces back into use in a way which supports tourism and the local economy.

As part of the plans, the existing exhibition, gallery and cultural space would be updated and improved. Northumberland County Council would work to relocate the Berwick Archives to the site - including new research rooms – and studio spaces would be developed for local artists.

Improvements would also be made to the Parade Ground to allow it to continue to play an active role in the life of the town, both through existing events and also through a wider public programme of events. A café or restaurant would be developed within the Officers Mess and a shop within the Gatehouse, and the West Block and Clock Block would be returned to residential use.

For further information about the project please click here and the site plan is available here.

Artist's Impressions

The Importance of Berwick Barracks

The barracks at Berwick-upon-Tweed - also known as Ravensdowne Barracks – were constructed by the British government between 1717 and 1721, following the fighting there during the Jacobite rising of 1715. They are the largest and finest barracks built in England in the early 18th century.

This imposing and slightly forbidding structure has acted as a significant landmark on the border of England and Scotland for centuries, fulfilling a military role for some 250 years until its closure in the 1960s.

Have Your Say

The vision for Berwick Barracks has been developed by the Berwick Barracks Partnership, building on work previously commissioned with the help of Berwick Town Council, all English Heritage’s tenants at the Barracks, Berwick Guild of Freemen and other local groups. The current project partners are:

  • English Heritage
  • The Maltings (Berwick) Trust
  • The King’s Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB)
  • Northumberland County Council
  • Berwick Barracks Heritage Trust

Around a hundred local people attended a consultation launch event that we held at Berwick Barracks on 14th August. It was great to meet so many engaged and passionate local people, full of ideas and questions about the project, we are grateful to them and the others who have provided feedback via the project website. In general the comments we have received have been very positive, with a number of questions about the residential and cultural aspects of the proposals. You can find a summary of these questions, and the responses from the Berwick Barracks Partnership here.

Overall the feedback has been positive and has encouraged us to continue to explore how this vision can be delivered. To this end, we have submitted Cultural Development Fund (CDF) bid for £4.2m and will also be seeking funding from other sources to enable the core part of the cultural offer to be delivered. This part of the project includes the new museum and gallery spaces, and artists’ studios within the East Barracks Block. I am pleased to report that £1.1m has already been secured Northumberland County Council to fund the refurbishment of the Gymnasium Art Gallery and Mob store, and work is expected to start on these buildings in Autumn 2022. We expect to find out in February whether or not our CDF funding bid has been successful.

We will continue to post up-dates on this website. Please get in touch of you have any questions or want to get involved as the project develops. You can contact us via the Living Barracks email address: TheLivingBarracks@english-heritage.org.uk

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