11 February 2011

The King's House

This is Peninsula Square that I have visited previously in this blog. The luxury houses and apartments here are housed in what was previously Peninsula Barracks.

The original buildings which stood here before were built by Sir Christopher Wren for King Charles II and were destroyed in a fire in 1894. King Charles fell in love with Winchester, and was determined to build a huge royal palace here. He was offered the site of Winchester Castle  and Sir Christopher Wren produced a superb design which was to rival the palace of Versailles. Work began demolishing all the remaining traces of Henry III's medieval castle except the Great Hall in early 1683. Charles II, knowing that he was approaching the end of his life and wanting to see his palace completed before his death, said, 'If it be possible to be done in one year, I will have it so, for a year is a great deal in my life.'

Sadly it was not to be, Charles II died in February 1685 and although the outside of the Palace was built and roofed, it was little more than an incomplete shell. The following monarch (James II), abandoned the project and the building, known as the King's House, fell into disrepair. In the 18th century it was used to hold military prisoners and eventually became military barracks in 1796.
 From the Winchester Museum Archives here is a photo of the original King's House, the style being not too dissimilar to the building of today


  1. During my time in the military I visited quite a few of the many barracks scattered around the UK, but I have never been to Peninsula Barracks. Now the Rifle Brigade is no more and their former home is a glorified housing estate.

  2. I like seeing how places change over time. Thanks for sharing so much of the history of this building.

  3. Here in Winchester housing is very expensive I bet the developers couldn't believe their luck here! The fire brigade are the next to be moved out.

  4. That is amazing. I love seeing the old photo. Have a great weekend!