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Archaeological excavation

In order to investigate the buildings that once stood on the site, which are today only known from historical maps, a series of trenches have been excavated. A large trench was opened across the parade ground to examine whether there were any remains pre-dating the barracks on the site, not recorded in historical maps or documents.

Although no earlier archaeological remains were discovered, the excavation did show that the area had been levelled during remodelling of the barracks in the early 1970s. Medieval farm soil had been removed and a layer of modern building debris placed directly above the natural London clay.

Within the Riding School a second area was excavated to investigate whether the building had ever been sub-divided, or if there were earlier floor surfaces surviving below the modern soft tarmac. Instead of one large trench a series of three small trenches was opened along the Riding School’s width, to ensure the Grade II listed building was not weakened.

Fragments of moulded building stone and stamped bricks were discovered during the excavation. These objects were found in a layer of modern material and are likely to be debris from one of the many periods of demolition and redevelopment in 180 years history of the barracks. Evidence for earlier floors or internal structures did not come to light.