Part of Shoebury Garrison and the adjacent High Street were designated a Conservation Area in 1981 and extended in 2004 and then again as part of the updated Appraisal in 2022, because they have special architectural and historic interest and a unique character which needs to be preserved and enhanced.
Summary of special interest
The Garrison has a crucial place in national military history for the development and testing of ordnance and for artillery training from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century as the country emerged from the Napoleonic era into the modern era of warfare. It is associated with important events, such as the Crimean War, and people, such as the former Duke of Cambridge, the army Commander in Chief and a frequent visitor to the Garrison.
Many of the Garrison's buildings are listed buildings and have special architectural or historic interest. They have considerable architectural interest through the unique horseshoe barracks design and the range of buildings typical of Victorian military architecture. The site contains a comprehensive group of military architecture, including mess buildings, buildings associated with artillery testing, a drill hall, hospital, residences and a church. These have a consistency in design and materials which give the area visual coherence and contribute to a fine townscape, which is complemented by green open spaces, well-manicured gardens and mature tree planting. The residential buildings reflect the different ranks, positions and marital status of those who occupied them, through their size, both of building and plots, and level of detailing. Modern developments since the decommissioning of the Garrison have been carried out to high quality designs and with good landscaping that integrates well with the historic site. This consistency of character and quality to both the historic and modern buildings is an important aspect of the Conservation Area.
Some of the buildings also demonstrate interesting social innovations for the improvement of soldiers’ welfare, such as the provision of separate cookhouses behind the barracks buildings. The area also demonstrates the evolution of military architecture over a period of a century and contrasts with the compact civilian architecture nearby. Several of the ordnance testing and training buildings which are located on the site, such as the Heavy Quick Firing Battery, are rare and survive relatively well. Modern development on the site has been well-designed and integrates sympathetically into the site. The Garrison played an important role in the development of the area, as it initiated the early development of Shoebury. Its military presence also lives on in the collective memory of local residents who have past connections with the Garrison, especially at times of reflection, such as Remembrance Day and other military anniversaries.
The Garrison includes much archaeological evidence of significance, principally the remains of an Iron Age settlement, the ramparts of which still partially survive.
Shoebury Garrison Conservation area map (see page 4)