Description of Historic Place
The Former Married Privates’ Quarters, Building 523, is situated on the main road leading to the naval dockyard. The red brick and masonry structure is a one-and-a-half-storey, rectangular, gable-roofed building with large chimneys placed at regular intervals. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Former Married Privates’ Quarters, Building 523 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Former Married Privates’ Quarters, Building 523 is an example of a residential building integral to the Signal Hill complex. It was constructed as part of the Victoria-Esquimalt coastal artillery system to defend the dockyard and the Victoria coastline against enemy attack. Its former role was that of Married Privates’ Quarters to house members of the British Army Ordnance Corps, and it was among the last structures completed during the joint Anglo-Canadian development phase.
The Former Married Privates’ Quarters, Building 523 is a very good example of the multiple-unit barracks built in Canada by the Royal Engineers, based on Georgian design antecedents. Superior craftsmanship is evident in the quality of the masonry construction and ornamental brickwork, characteristic of the Royal Engineers’ work.
The property of the Former Married Privates’ Quarters, Building 523, along with the adjoining Former Armament Artificer's and Sergeant’s Quarters, form an isolated residential enclave. It is compatible with the present military character of Signal Hill and the Canadian Forces Base at Esquimalt. Previous use as a naval museum has made the structure a regional landmark.
Ian Doull, Signal Hill, CFB Esquimalt (10 Buildings), Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, British Columbia. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 89-203
Signal Hill Gun Emplacement No. 523, CFB Esquimalt, Esquimalt, British Columbia. Heritage Character Statement 89-203
The following character-defining elements of the Former Married Privates’ Quarters, Building 523 should be respected, for example:
Its functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-The simple, large massing of the one-and-a-half-storey, rectangular, gable-roofed building with large brick chimneys.
-The main entrances accessed through projecting front and rear shed-roofed vestibule entrances.
-The organisation into identical sections, the projecting frieze, the plinth and pilasters of rounded brick, the large corbelled brick chimneys, and the brick voussoirs.
-The ornamental brick and stonework, the large six-over-six sash painted windows, and the grey slate roof.
-The British style exterior plumbing drainpipes located on the rear elevation.
The manner in which Former Married Privates’ Quarters, Building 523 is compatible with the present military character of Signal Hill and CFB Esquimalt and is a regional landmark as evidenced in:
-Its scale, simple massing and red brick exterior that matches similar buildings in the vicinity.
-Its size, prominent location, and prior use as a museum that has made the structure a regional landmark.