In 1861 the Depot Royal Marines, Deal was established, here in Hospital Barracks alongside the Royal Naval Hospital (which dates from the late 18th Century).
The Depot function (essentially the training of recruits) expanded into North and South Barracks when these were taken over from the Army in 1869. The Hospital function was transferred to the new Infirmary Barracks in 1900, when the former Hospital Barracks became known as East Barracks.
Through the gates on the right you will note the impressive facade and clock tower of the building that was the headquarters of the Royal Marines School of Music. Here at the gates would have been the Guardroom and more recently the Drum Repair Workshop.
A Depot Band was authorised in 1890 and stood down in 1930 when the Royal Naval School of Music was relocated to Deal and accommodated primarily in the East Barracks.
Following the fall of France in 1940, the school was evacuated to safer locations and returned to Deal on 6th January 1950. The designation of the Royal Marines School of Music was adopted on 1st September 1950.
An historic operating theatre is at the rear of this building with many interesting stories concerning the horrific medical treatments that were endured in the early days of 19th Century medicine before anaesthetics!
Clock tower graffiti
At the centre of this impressive building, you will note the clock tower, which holds on its beams an interesting collection of historic graffiti that was inscribed by many Royal Marines recruits. This includes a running commentary on the major Royal Marine actions of the First and Second World Wars, the 1982 Falklands Campaign, and the Provisional IRA Bombing in 1989. Other graffiti styles, including poetry and love messages, are also evidenced!
Trail Directions: Continue along The Strand to the car park area of Admiralty Mews on your right (please respect the privacy of residents in what is now private housing).