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HISTORY OF WORK POINT BARRACKS

by Jack Bates

PART 3 — 1894 to 1906


1895

Soon after the Royal Engineers arrived at Work Point they started building the structures required at the Macaulay Point battery, or Fort Macaulay, where they supervised the work done by civilian day labor. 1895 appears on the header over the entrance way to the underground passage way leading to the “Keep” and Battery Commander’s Post, and it is understood the complete works were constructed by November 30, 1897, the gun emplacements and support buildings by end of 1895, the RE then moved construction efforts to Fort Rodd Hill . The extant buildings to date are a Magazine (machine gun ammo stores) WP 1191, cost $ 1848; Gun Crew Shelter and Stores (1938), formerly No 2 gun (1895/1924), WP 1196, cost $3,000; Paint / Oil stores WP 1197, cost $672; Artillery Stores WP 1199, cost $1680; Smith’s and Fitter’s workshops WP 1200, cost $4,900; Office WP 1201, cost $1,680; The Keep’s Battery Commander’s Post WP 1192, cost $15,000 (modified 1942). Buildings associated with the BCP removed in September1945 were Crew Quarters and the Sub Section Commander’s post.

Original buildings removed from the Ring Road access are stores WP 1198, cost $6300, and a Guardhouse at the passageway entrance. Location of the entrance gates to the fort and foundation remains of the Guardhouse are evident and that of latrines, ash and coal bins. There are various other concrete structures scattered throughout the park from previous installations, although nothing of the original three earthworks dating back to 1878 discovered as yet.

Structures WP 1328 originally gun # 3 and WP1329 originally gun # 1, have underground ammunition stores at their sites, built in 1895 for $10, 000 each, WP 1328 modified in 1924 and 1938 and WP 1329 modified in 1938 only. There are remains of the original structures at all three gun sites. A plan of Macaulay Point indicates Authority to commence – 14 – 8 – 93; Date of commencement – 28 – 2 – 94; Date of completion – 30 – 11 – 97.

None of these buildings had been evaluated by the FHBRO but are now identified as “to be evaluated in 2012.” They were on a provisional list in 1989 but were not included in the study at that time due to lack of physical access to the sites, and a lack of information. The base has not resubmitted them until 2012. They are in the 5.5 hectare (13.6 acres) “Park” area leased to the Township of Esquimalt in 1985, monitored by volunteers, the “Friends of Macaulay Point,” and ETAG with special mention to the Esquimalt Anglers Association for their initiative and efforts. The last community “paint up” was in 2005. See the 2009 Macaulay Point Natural Areas Management Plan / Esquimalt. The MOR for the next five years was finalized in December 2012, Esquimalt and the DND have determined shared responsibilities and funding.

Invitation - April 17, 1895

Library and Archives Canada
August 15, 1895

Letter of Transfer of Buildings From Dominion of Canada to British Jurisdiction at Work Point Barracks — Esquimalt, B.C. W.O. Letter Canada 5 / 1696 Dated 15 – 8 – 1895. (This note appears on Work Point Barracks building plans drawn by G. Fenton, R.E., in 1904) W.O. reference could be W.O. 32 British Archives.

5th Regiment Fort Macaulay 1895

Daily Colonist
October 1, 1895

Lieut. Col. Rawstorne, R.M.A., wrote in answer to a letter sent to him with respect to the powder in the Beacon Hill Park magazine, that he had again conferred with Admiral Stephenson on the matter, and that the latter informed him that as his magazine on Magazine Island is already overcrowded he cannot store the powder there. He advised, however, if the council will repair the stage leading to the magazine near the R.M.A. barracks, that the powder be placed there. With respect to this proposition Col. Rawstorne declared that in his opinion the public safety would not be better secured thereby, as the damage from an explosion in the one place would be about as bad as in the other. He suggested that as the powder is of no great value in these days the Dominion and Imperial authorities be requested either to remove it to another storehouse or permit the city to have it destroyed. The matter was left to the Mayor to find out what can be done.

December 17, 1895

The Park Magazine

Ald. Williams inquired what had been done lately about the powder magazine in the park.

The mayor replied that the last he heard of it was a conversation with a naval man, who advised him to have evergreens and creepers planted, and said that there is no more danger than if the powder were up in the moon.

Ald. Hall advised that some enterprising citizens should remove the powder without permission and offered to be one of any body who would volunteer.

CFB Esquimalt Naval Yard 1895
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