Description of Historic Place
The Former Guardroom and Prisoners’ Quarters is a component of the main gate of Fort Charlotte situated on Georges Island located in Halifax Harbour. Partially concealed within a deep cutting in the rampart, the single-level, flat roofed, earth covered structure occupies one side of a passage leading to the interior of the fort. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Former Guardroom and Prisoners’ Quarters is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Former Guardroom and Prisoners’ Quarters is a very good example of a structure associated with the defence of the Imperial naval station during the period of heightened tension following the Trent Affair of 1861. It is also associated with the internal organization of a coastal fortification in the rifled muzzle-loading era.
The Former Guardroom and Prisoners’ Quarters is a good example of specialized, multi-functional coastal defence structure integral to a coastal defence fort. This structure exhibits very good functional design, craftsmanship and materials.
The Former Guardroom and Prisoners’ Quarters reinforces the present military character of the Georges Island National Historic Site setting and is familiar to staff and visitors to the island.
Sources: Rhona Goodspeed, Georges Island, Halifax Defence Complex, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Volume Two, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 95-001;The Former Guardroom and Prisoners’ Quarters (No. 79), Fort Charlotte, Georges Island, Halifax Defence Complex, Halifax, Nova Scotia Heritage Character Statement 95-001.
The character-defining elements of the Former Guardroom and Prisoners’ Quarters, should be respected, for example:
Its functional military design and very good quality craftsmanship and materials, for example:
-The exterior of the single-level, flat roofed, earth covered structure that is partially concealed within a deep cutting in the rampart, its projecting brick chimney stack with double course oversailing, and also the ventilation stack with cast concrete chimney top that rise above the traverse;
-The two brick built relieving arches with brick English bond infill that are set within the wall and reflect the interior spaces;
-The flat casement façade, consisting of an irregularly coursed, ironstone rubble abutment wall topped by brick coping;
-The channel stones for perimeter drainage, and the cut-stone sleepers;
-The interior of the two approximately square vaulted bombproof casemates;
-The remaining interior and exterior fittings.
The manner in which the Former Guardroom and Prisoners’ Quarters, reinforces the present military character of the setting within Georges Island National Historic Site and is a familiar landmark as evidenced by:
-Its specialized military design and materials which maintains an ongoing relationship to the entrance passage and parade within the fort’s trace;
-The visibility and familiarity of the building’s façade which is the only evident part of the structure within the fort.