RTS Site

RTS Site

RTS Site A barracks complex built between in 1920 at RAF Halton's East Camp. The complex is significant because its design was used as a format for subsequent RAF barracks. It was carefully designed so as not to appear purely utilitarian, in contrast to previous (Royal Flying Corps) sites. The barracks, mess and institute buildings were arranged as a homogenous ensemble around a parade square.

From 1922, the barracks was used by apprentice boys and staff involved with the technical training programme known as the Aircraft Apprentice Scheme (for further details of the scheme see please see the main record for RAF Halton). Each of the three storey barracks accommodation blocks was designed to house 126 apprentices, four sergeants and six corporals. In these, accommodation sections flank a square central section incorporating an entrance hall, with a staircase and ablutions in an annexe to the rear, giving each RTS Site barracks a "T"-shaped plan.

There are also a number of ancillary buildings: both Grove Barracks and Henderson Barracks each had separate single storey mess facilities for sergeants segregated from those for apprentices. There were also offices, shops and a medical centre (now "building 21"), as well as an institute. The institute building featured a pedimented front returning to deep wings.

RTS Site Paul Francis, an authority on British military airfield architecture, has described the barracks, built in 1920 at Halton as "the first modern barracks". He stresses that they "..were to influence barrack design for the next 18 years". He notes the typical "T"-plan with ablutions in an annexe to the rear of the central square entrance section, the latter flanked by the accommodation sections. The "T"-plan would predominate in barracks architecture until 1938 (they were then superseded by "H"-plans) The main barracks were of 3 storeys, whilst the (sergeants) mess buildings were of a single storey.


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