Artists’ impression of the Soldiers’ Barracks & Storehouse at Fort Willow, based on findings of 1950s archaeologist Wilfred Jury.
Reconstructed barracks at Fort York
The Soldier’s Barracks:
Researcher: Jade Schumacher, Grade 12
Soldiers would sleep, eat, socialize, and spend their free time in their barracks room. According to research from the Fort Henry site, beds were able to be folded in order to maximize space, and personal belongings of the soldiers were kept in boxes which were stored beneath their beds.
Morning inspections were made to ensure cleanliness. This, however, did not really make a difference in living conditions, since the rooms were poorly ventilated, poorly heated, and poorly lit. In addition, because the rooms were locked at night, each barracks was supplied with a “urine bucket” which would not be emptied from dusk to daybreak.
Even with the poor living conditions, the soldiers were much better looked after in the barracks than if they had never enlisted. Many of the men volunteering for the British Army were from slums with even harsher conditions for living. By enlisting, soldiers were assured regular meals, a safe place to stay, and a regular salary. In the British Army, the minimum length of service was ten years; soldiers received a small pension if they served a second term of eleven years.
Researcher: Isabella Zdyb, Grade 12
The Storehouse was used to hold large amounts of foods and military goods. Fort Willow stored flour, biscuits, salt pork, rum, candles, ceramic smoking pipes, lead for musket and pistol ammunition, gun flints, and even packages of Indian Treaty presents, traded with local First Nation native people.
(n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2013, from http://www2.canada.com/vancouversun/features/bc150ed/story.html?id=57953f6d-dfcb-414a-a8b3-c17b6f775159
Postmedia Network Inc. (2008, Novermber 5). Fort Langley Storehouse. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from The Vancouver Sun: http://www2.canada.com/vancouversun/features/bc150ed/story.html?id=57953f6d-dfcb-414a-a8b3-c17b6f775159