Description of Historic Place
The West Ravelin Guardhouse is an integral component of Halifax Citadel, the star-shaped fort on the crest of Citadel Hill in downtown Halifax. Steps access the austere, gable-roofed, defensible work pierced by loopholes. The structure is surrounded by a narrow ditch. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The West Ravelin Guardhouse is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The West Ravelin Guardhouse is one of the best examples of a structure closely associated with the defence of the Imperial naval station of Halifax against potential military incursions by the United States following the War of 1812.The upgrade of the Halifax defences and the substantial economic benefits that resulted had a significant impact on the community of Halifax.
The West Ravelin Guardhouse is a very good example of a specialized, defensive structure integral to a permanent mid-19th century bastioned masonry fortification. Its defensive characteristics are exemplified by its incorporation into the gorge wall, and other protective features. Initially designed as a redoubt or infantry stronghold with bombproof barracks and a sheltered passage, it also served as a quartermaster’s and small arms store. This excellent example of a functional reinforced structure also exhibits very good craftsmanship and materials.
The West Ravelin Guardhouse reinforces the present military character of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site setting and is well known to staff and visitors to Halifax.
Rhona Goodspeed assisted by Edgar Tumak, Consultant, The Citadel, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Volume One, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 95-001.
The West Ravelin Guardhouse, Halifax Defence Complex, Halifax, Nova Scotia Heritage Character Statement 95-001.
The character-defining elements of the West Ravelin Guardhouse should be respected, for example:
The functional design and good quality materials, for example:
-The handsome, angular, symmetrical massing and low profile of the structure.
-The bombproof roof distinguished by a distinctive pentagonal granite chimney shaft with a double course oversailing in cut granite.
-The thick rubble masonry walls faced with granite ashlar with integral ventilation system.
-The ‘V’-shaped rear and the long, straight sidewalls and obtuse angled end wall that conform to the line of the gorge wall.
-The gable walls with dressed granite coping stones and the defensive dry ditch with a small stone bridge.
-The position of musketry loopholes, horizontal in front, vertical loopholes and a door in the sidewalls, three windows and a door in the gorge.
The manner in which the West Ravelin Guardhouse reinforces the present military character of the setting within Halifax Citadel National Historic Site and is a familiar landmark within the Citadel, as evidenced by:
-The specialized military design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship, between the gorge of the ravelin, the terreplein and the recent vehicular ramp.
-Its visibility to visitors and to staff within the fort.