Soldiers' Barracks Room


This room is a reproduction of the barracks room for unmarried soldiers. In 1867, all of the rooms on the balcony level were used for this purpose.

Each barracks room housed a maximum of 19 men, who would sleep, eat, and spend their free time in the room. The beds used were folding beds, in order to maximize space. The personal belongings of each soldier were kept in the boxes underneath the beds, known as "barracks boxes." Inspections were made every morning in order to ensure cleanliness; however, as the rooms were poorly lit, heated, and ventilated, conditions were oppressive. In addition, the rooms were locked at night to discourage desertion. As a result, each room was supplied with a "urine tub," which would not be emptied from dusk to dawn.

The soldiers were much better looked after than if they had never enlisted. Many of the men who volunteered for the British Army came from slums where conditions were much harsher than in the army. Once enlisted, they were assured of regular meals, a salary of one shilling (12 pence) a day, and a roof over their heads. The minimum length of service in the British Army was 10 years. Soldiers who served a second term of eleven years received a small pension.

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