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St Barbara's Royal Garrison Church and Hilsea Barracks

Witness that last years of Hilsea Barracks in this short and wintry film from F Howard - featuring a community of buildings that have vanished from the map

Amateur film 1963 6 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Wessex Film and Sound Archive


On a cold day in the early 60s we see various buildings at Hilsea barracks, which were later demolished. Starting at St Barbara's Royal Garrison Church, an example of a Victorian 'tin chapel', we then see the various barracks and outbuildings. The film then moves to Wylie Road in Hilsea, looking at houses under a mantle of snow. There is then a brief shot of the frozen salt-water Canoe Lake in Southsea before the film ends.

This film was possibly made during the severe winter of 1962/63. By that time Hilsea Barracks had closed permanently after almost 200 years of military use. Buildings such as the officers' mess, originally the garrison commander's house and dating from 1780, still survive with a Grade II listing. The rest of the site was demolished and redeveloped in 1965 into the Gatcombe Park Housing Estate. Though the original layout has vanished, roads, such as St Barbara's Way, recall the site’s previous occupiers. St Barbara's Garrison Church dated from 1888 and was made of corrugated iron. Despite the plain exterior its interior was highly decorated with stained glass windows and a large church organ.