Barracks

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Early barracks such as those of the Roman Praetorian Guard were built to maintain elite forces. There are a number of remains of Roman army barracks in frontier forts such as Vercovicium and Vindolanda. From these and from contemporary Roman sources we can see that the basics of life in a military camp have remained constant for thousands of years. In the early modern period they formed part of the 'Military Revolution' that scholars believe contributed decisively to the formation of the nation state [4] by increasing the expense of maintaining standing armies. Large, permanent barracks were developed in the 18th century by the two dominant states of the period, France and Spain. The English term ‘barrack’, on the other hand, derives from the Spanish word for a temporary shelter erected by soldiers on campaign, barraca. Because of fears that a standing army in barracks would be a threat to the constitution, barracks were not built in Great Britain until 1790, on the eve of the Napoleonic War. Early barracks were multi-storey blocks often grouped in a quadrangle around a courtyard or parade ground. A good example is Ravensdowne Barracks Berwick-upon-Tweed, among the first in England to be purpose-built and begun in 1617 to the design of the distinguished architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. During the 18th century the increasing sophistication of military life lead to separate housing for different ranks (officers had always had larger rooms) and married quarters, and the provision of specialized buildings such as dining rooms and cook houses, bath houses, mess rooms, schools, hospitals, armouries, gymnasia, riding schools and stables. The pavilion plan concept of hospital design was influential in barrack planning after the Crimean War. The first large-scale training camps were built in France and Germany during the early 18th century. The British army built Aldershot camp from 1854. By the First World War, infantry, artillery and cavalry regiments had separate...
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