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Clore Learning Centre, Hampton Court Palace

Hiller, Jon and Underdown, Simon Clore Learning Centre, Hampton Court Palace. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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From August 2005 to August 2006, Oxford Archaeology (OA) carried out an extended watching brief on the site of the new Clore Learning Centre at Hampton Court Palace, London (NGR: TQ 1550 6860), on behalf of Historic Royal Palaces. The Clore Learning Centre is located to the north of the 17th century Barrack Block near the Trophy Gate at the west side of the Palace. The watching brief comprised the monitoring of a number of trenches excavated by the principal site contractors, including ancillary services such as electricity cabling. A new lift shaft pit was also excavated in the Barrack Block. The trenches were individually recorded as Archaeological Actions (AA). A building recording exercise was also undertaken during refurbishment of the Barrack Block from late 2005 through to the summer of 2006. This report combines the results from these two investigations. The surface of natural terrace gravel was observed some 3 m below current ground level, but no evidence of activity was found from the prehistoric, Roman or pre-Tudor periods. A single wall fragment pre-dated the construction of the 1689 barracks, and is most likely to belong to the foundations of the short-lived cavalry barracks constructed in 1662. A small patch of brick floor may have belonged to the same structure. These are glimpses of a building which may be depicted in Cosimo De Medici’s view of 1169 (Fig. 21) but of which we otherwise know very little, other than that it was timber-framed. Garden soils belonging to the Kitchen Gardens were found, but there was no evidence from the Tiltyard which occupied this area prior to the late 17th century Part of the south foundation wall of the 1689 barrack block was seen in the watching brief, together with the base of one of the cast iron columns. These columns, which were also observed during the building survey, were introduced into the building in the late 18th or 19th century. They formed the end of the stall divisions in the cavalry barracks and supported the second floor. If, as is suggested in the Statement of Significance (HRP 2005), the columns were put in soon after 1794, they are a very early example of their kind. At the west end of the Barrack Block, the watching brief was successful in showing the detailed development of a yard area from the early 18th century onwards. The yard housed latrines and soil pits, and it was presumably constructed because the original pit were between the cavalry and infantry barracks, and were covered over when the Sutlery was built, also in the early 18th century. Much of the focus of the building recording works was on the first floor of the cavalry barracks. This showed in more detail (it was recorded by Ford in 1996) how the main barrack rooms were divided into two in the 18th century - but it was not possible to date the wall to a particular phase of renovation. The recording also elucidated the sub-division and re ordering of other parts of the barracks in the 18th and particularly the 19th centuries, and the construction detail of the roof and floor structures. The finds were limited in quantity across the site as a whole. The pottery and glass assemblages contained 18th and 19th century flower pots and glass cloches typical of horticultural sites of some status. Tudor brick samples were recovered from the walls west of the barrack block though the finds assemblage comprised mostly later post-medieval material. Of note were a number of comparatively rare `bottle bricks’, first introduced into France by the architect Eustache St. Far in 1785 and used for a period in the late 18th and early 19th century by prominent architects including Henry Holland and Sir John Soane. The bricks were used for lightweight roof vaulting and can be found in the construction of Soane’s Bank of England. No obvious context for these bricks was observed on this development site or within the barracks; it may be that the bricks werestored here at one time for use elsewhere in the Palace grounds and were used to backfill later intrusive features.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Greater London
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2014 09:03
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2014 09:03
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/1778

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