Description of Historic Place
The Gun Emplacement, Magazine and Director’s Tower is defined by the U-shaped gun emplacements, raised platform, prominent two-storey square tapered Tower, and the open areas behind, including the perimeter walls. Consisting of an open Gun Emplacement originally designed for two quick firing guns in an open battery and the subterranean complex of rooms of the bombproof Magazine, it is constructed of concrete formwork and a small amount of stonework used for retaining walls. The ammunition hatch, the two storage recesses with doors on either side of the drum, the small crew shelter of the right gun emplacement, the stairwell, the right depression range-finder position, and the loopholed defensible walls on the landward sides are all visible. The entrance to the bombproof magazine is visible as an entrance off the courtyard. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Belmont Battery Gun Emplacement, Magazine and Director’s Tower is a Classified Federal Heritage building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Gun Emplacement and Magazine of the Upper Battery is one of the best examples of a structure associated with the build-up of naval facilities and renewal of existing buildings on the west-coast of Canada during the period of joint Imperial-Dominion defence planning from 1871-1906. The building is an integral part of the coastal defence system for the Royal Navy base at Esquimalt..
The Gun Emplacement and Magazine of the Upper Battery is a good example of a functional late19th century design. The pleasing aesthetics derive from the varied profile and sweeping horizontal lines. The construction and use of materials are highly specialized to accommodate technical functions and equipment. These, along with its functional design, reinforce its value as a specialized coastal artillery structure. Following a standard Imperial pattern, the Gun Emplacement and Magazine has a sophisticated functionality in its symmetrical, low profile design. Its exposed walls of either concrete or brick and its brick vaulted ceilings have high quality craftsmanship and reinforce the overall functionality.
The simple low-cut grass ground cover of the landscape emphasizes the rolling terrain of the site. The park-like setting is unchanged and the integration of the structures with natural features is a characteristic feature of the Upper Battery Gun emplacement and Magazine. The structure establishes the coastal defence setting of Fort Rodd Hill which overlooks Esquimalt Harbour to the east and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the south.
Joan Mattie, Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgarde Lighthouse Historic Sites, 603, Fort Rodd Hill Road, Colwood, B.C. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 96-096.
Upper Battery Gun Emplacement and Magazine, 603 Fort Rodd Hill Road. Heritage Character Statement 96-096
The following character-defining elements of the Upper Battery Gun Emplacement and Magazine should be respected, for example:
Its functional military design and good quality materials and craftsmanship as evidenced in:
-the simple low scale, low to grade massing.
-the simply detailed concrete formwork.
-the stonework used for the retaining walls.
-the steel pipe guard rails on the edge of the stairwells.
-the original wooden entrance doors with their solid plank construction and their
heavy iron hardware.
-the steel window frames and shutters of the Director’s Tower
-the simple interior finishes of wood V-joint paneling.
-painted masonry with radiused brick edges.
-thin metal vault sheeting.
-utilitarian wood fittings.
The manner in which the Belmont Battery Gun Emplacement, Magazine and Director’s Tower establishes the present character of the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site.