Wellington Barracks

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Wellington Barracks (1860-1905, 1906-Present) - A British military cantonment established in 1860 north of the Halifax Citadel in present-day Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, later renamed Nelson Barracks after Horatio Nelson. Abandoned by the British in 1905 and taken over by Canadian forces in 1906. Also known as Wellington House.

Royal Canadian Regiment on parade in front of Wellington Barracks, c.1906


Interior of Officers Quarters at Wellington Barracks 1911.
Damage to Wellington Barracks from the Halifax Explosion December 1917.

The Wellington Barracks complex was approved for construction on 30 Dec 1850 after a fire destroyed the existing North Barracks. Planned as a modern permanent barracks complex for a battalion of British infantry. Two large brick buildings were built, one for officers' quarters that would house two field grade officers, twenty-four officers, and twenty-six servants. A larger brick building housed the enlisted men's barracks meant to house 555 NCO's and privates plus a 40-bed hospital. A large central parade separated the two large buildings.

Site preparation began sometime in 1851. The winning bid of £43,271 from the Quebec City firm of Peters, Blaiklock, and Peters was accepted in June 1852. Work started about 1 Aug 1852, under the supervision of Captain Barry, Royal Engineers. The buildings were essentially completed by 1858 but, due to contract difficulties, full occupancy was not achieved until April 1860.

By the 1890s the complex included married officer quarters, a magazine, a shell store, several outbuildings and a stable.

The British garrison left Wellington Barracks in 1905 when they turned over the Harbor Defense of Halifax to Canadian forces. The Royal Canadian Regiment then occupied Wellington Barracks from 1906 until they departed for overseas service in World War I.

Halifax Explosion

On 6 Dec 1917, the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, exploded in Halifax Harbor killing some two thousand townspeople and injuring nine thousand more. The town was devastated by that explosion and Wellington Barracks was damaged but not destroyed by the blast. The barracks buildings themselves were severely damaged and rendered unsafe for a long period of time. The more severely damaged wooden outbuildings were simply torn down after the Explosion.

The property was transferred to the Canadian Navy in 1941.

Current Status

Only the Officers Quarters building remains. The central parade is now a parking lot. Part of Canadian Forces Base Stadacona (CFB Stadacona).

Location: Building S12, Barringtion Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Maps & Images

Lat: 44.66177 Long: -63.59382

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