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Casemates Barracks & Prison -- Royal Naval Dockyards, Ireland Island, Somerset Parish BM
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 32° 19.451 W 064° 50.151
20S E 327194 N 3577850
Quick Description: The Casemates Barracks at the Royal Naval Dockyards, built in 1839 to house members of His/Her Majesty's Marine Infantry, was converted to a prison by the Government of Bermuda in 1951 when the Royal Navy left.
Location: Bermuda
Date Posted: 3/5/2015 9:56:23 AM
Waymark Code: WMNFD8
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 0

Long Description:
The Casemates Barracks were built by convicts from Irelans in 1839, who were brought to Bermuda to build the Royal Naval Dockyard. These barracks served for almost 120 years as military housing for the Marine Infantry units who were tasked with defending the Dockyards in case of attack.

When the Royal Navy left the Dockyards in 1951, the installation was turned over to the Government of Bermuda. The Casemates Barracks was converted into the main prison for the island. This building aerved as Bermuda's prison until 1995.

From thew Bermuda Attractions website: (visit link)

"Casemates Barracks & Prison Bermuda

Casemates is one of the oldest buildings in the dockyard located at its southern side. It was built during the period 1839 to 1843 by large number of British convicts who were brought in from England. The convicts lived in extremely poor conditions in old and abandoned warships that were crudely modified for bare living.

Casemates served as the barrack for the men of Marine Infantry who defended the dockyard area against possible enemy invasion and lived here for years.

This two storied building housed 120 men from the marine defense complete with officers rooms, a mess, canteen and offices. The roof of the building was made of bricks and concrete so that it could withstand enemy bombings and cannon shots. It is some 8-foot thick. The walls of the building is also several feet thick and made of hard limestone rocks.

Subsequently in 1951 when the dockyard lost its significance as the Royal Naval base and the British navy left the island, the Casemates became the main prison for Bermuda's convicts. A prison's visitors center was also built later. It remained as the main prison for decades until 1995 when a new prison Westgate was built on Pender Road just outside the dockyard. Since then the Casemates facility has been lying idle and vacant.

In the recent times, an underground tunnel has been discovered right under the place where the prison's visitor center used to be. It is strange that even during the excavation work that took place while building the visitors center, no one noticed this 60-foot tunnel. The tunnel was used for transit during the days the British Navy occupied the grounds.

The entire dockyard area including the Casemates is under the administration of WEDCO (West End Development Corporation). In 2009, WEDCO has handed over Casemates and its adjoining areas to Bermuda Maritime Museum on a 99 years lease to build a National Museum here.

Casemates will eventually become part of Bermuda National Museum. It is planned to be converted into an exhibition center. The tourists should be able to then access various parts of the building.

UPDATE December 2013: The restoration work is still in progress but very slow. It's likely to take several more years before it's open to public."
Casemates Barracks
Royal Naval Dockyard
Ireland Island, Somerset Parish Bermuda

Open to the public: No

none as yet (2015)


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Benchmark Blasterz visited Casemates Barracks & Prison -- Royal Naval Dockyards, Ireland Island, Somerset Parish BM 2/22/2015 Benchmark Blasterz visited it