Commissariat Stores / Reverse Fire Chamber West
Links and documents
1841/01/01 to 1843/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Commissariat Stores/ Reverse Fire Chamber West, also known as Advanced Battery, is a specialized defensive military structure integral to the Fort Henry Defence Complex, located within Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada, Ontario. It consists of a 91.4 meter (300 foot) long stone building with a simple elongated rectangular plan, and horizontal massing. Its low side walls feature musketry loopholes and a long moderately pitched hipped roof clad in sheet metal shingles and pierced at intervals by squat masonry chimney stacks. The solidly built interior spaces demonstrate a simple geometry with plain surfaces. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Commissariat Stores/ Reverse Fire Chamber West is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations and its architectural and environmental values.
The Commissariat Stores/ Reverse Fire Chamber West is a very good example of a structure thematically associated with the defence of Canada from the threat of the United States from the War of 1812 to 1870, and the development of the Canadian military from 1871 to 1891. The School of Gunnery made use of both the Redoubt and Advanced Battery during their training. The Commissariat is a fort component designed for the musketry defence of the exposed ground to the West, bombproof storage of commissariat stores and close quarter protection of the advanced ditch. Its construction, the subsequent economic benefits and the resulting influx of personnel had a significant impact on Kingston.
The Commissariat Stores/ Reverse Fire Chamber West is a very good example of a functional 19th century military defense design and the standard construction technology used at the time by the Royal Engineers. Its specialized features, construction techniques and use of materials express its very good functional design. It also exhibits very good quality materials and craftsmanship.
As an integral component of both the Fort Henry Defence Complex and the line of Martello towers along the Kingston waterfront, the Commissariat Stores/ Reverse Fire Chamber West has retained its character. It reinforces the coastal defence and military setting of Fort Henry and is a symbol of the region for both the townsfolk and visitors to Kingston.
Sources: Fern Graham, Fort Henry, Kingston Ontario. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 95-051; Fort Henry, Old Fort Henry, Commissariat Stores/ Reverse Fire Chamber West, Advanced Battery, Kingston, Ontario.Heritage, Character Statement 95-051.
The character-defining elements of the Commissariat Stores/ Reverse Fire Chamber West should be respected.
The very good aesthetic and functional military defense design, and very good quality materials and craftsmanship as evidenced in:
- the simple, plain geometric massing of the solidly built ashlar faced rectangular building;
- the long moderately pitched hipped roof pierced at intervals by squat masonry chimney stacks;
- the long limestone ashlar shot-proof wallcut exterior stone wall with regular pattern loopholes, topped by heavy cantilever brackets;
- the depressed three-centred arched defensive gateway;
- the matching bay treatment of the casemates, consisting of a central door flanked by windows within a sunken panel with their brick-vaulted bombproof roof;
- the internal spaces, in particular the casemates with their squared uncoursed rubble masonry walls and ceilings of segmental brick vaulting;
- the subterranean stone cross-vaulted musketry chamber;
- viewscapes from the interior parade ground.
The manner in which the Commissariat Store/ Reverse Fire Chamber West reinforces the military character of Fort Henry.
Government of Canada
Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy
Classified Federal Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Military Defence Installation
Architect / Designer
Lieutenant-Colonel John Oldfield
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection
Branch Tower East
Standing sentinel on the banks of Lake Ontario, Branch Tower East is a specialized defensive structure integral to Fort Henry. It consists of a massive, 14-metre-high circular…
Curtain Wall and Demi-Bastions
The reconstructed Curtain Wall and Demi-Bastions constitute a specialized defensive military structure integral to Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada. The prominent and…
Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada
Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada is a 19th-century British military fortress situated on Point Henry between the mouth of Kingston harbour and a second natural harbour…