Description of Historic Place
The South Expense Magazine is located in the Northwest Demi-Bastion, an integral part of the Halifax Citadel, the star-shaped fort on the crest of Citadel Hill in downtown Halifax. Partially embedded in the turfed rampart wall on the north side of the fortification it forms part of the escarp parapet. The South Expense Magazine is a small, vaulted, one-storey, rectangular plan building with a sunken entrance visible at the front. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The South Expense Magazine is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The South Expense Magazine is closely associated with the defence of the Imperial naval station of Halifax during the heightened tension following the Trent Affair of 1861, and the change in armament technology represented by the introduction of rifled ordnance. The upgrade of the Halifax defences and the resulting economic benefits had a significant impact on the community of Halifax.
The South Expense Magazine is a good example of specialized, reinforced, defensive military structures integral to a permanent mid-19th century bastioned masonry fortification. Its defensive characteristics are exemplified by its partial underground construction, and other protective features. Designed to satisfy specific functional requirements for the storage of expense cartridges in the rifled breech-loading and rifled muzzle-loading era, this functional building exhibits very good craftsmanship and materials.
The South Expense Magazine with its unchanged site is compatible with the present military character of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site setting and is well known to staff and visitors within the Citadel.
Rhona Goodspeed with the assistance of Edgar Tumak, Consultant, The Citadel, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Volume One, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 95-001.
The South Expense Magazine, Northwest Demi-Bastion, Halifax Defence Complex, Halifax, Nova Scotia Heritage Character Statement 95-001.
The character-defining elements of the South Expense Magazine should be respected, for example:
The functional design and good quality materials, for example:
-The low profile of the structure.
-The front external ironstone wall with stone coping, featuring a sunken entrance flanked by side-walls, which slope down to a shorter wall opposite the entrance.
-The entrance access provided via a dressed granite quarter-turn stair.
-The interior small vestibule separated from the larger rear ammunition chamber by a stone partition wall, the brick vaults of the main chamber, the glass covered lamp recess and the ventilation openings in the side and rear walls of the building.
-The granite surrounds of the openings and the earth covered, splinter-proof roof.
The manner in which the South Expense Magazine with its unchanged site is compatible with the present military character of the setting within Halifax Citadel National Historic Site and is a familiar landmark within the fort, as evidenced by:
-The unchanged character of the National Historic Site of Halifax Citadel.
-The specialized military design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship to the rampart/escarp parapet, and harmonizes with the other buildings in the fortress.
-Its visibility to visitors and to staff on the north rampart wall.