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The history and development of Norton Barracks

The Worcestershire Regiment dates back to 1694 when Colonel Thomas Farrington, an officer of the Coldstream Guards raised a new regiment in London. It was then the custom for Regiments to be named after their Colonels, and this new Regiment was named Farrington’s Regiment of Foot. This method of naming regiments led to confusion, as regiments were re-named with each Colonel, and it was possible for more than one Colonel, and therefore more than one regiment, to have the same name.

Until 1751, the Regiment had eight different Colonels, and therefore eight different names. In 1751 regiments were given numbers, and the Regiment was numbered 29.

The Worcestershire Regiment was a line infantry regiment in the British Army, formed in 1881 (under the Childers Reforms) by the amalgamation of the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot and the 36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot. The regiment fought in many conflicts, including both the First and Second World Wars, until 1970, when it was amalgamated with the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) to form the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29th/44th Foot). In September 2007, the regiment amalgamated with the Cheshire Regiment and the Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's) to form the Mercian Regiment.

 The historical facts relating to the initiation and progress of the regiment is recorded on the Worcestershire Regiment website

 

http://www.worcestershireregiment.com/h_36th_Foot_history.php

 

  

The Story of Norton Barracks:

Home of the Worcestershire Regiment by Stan Jobson

 

Norton Barracks was the Regimental Depot and the home of the Worcestershire Regiment for more than a century. It was known to many thousands of soldiers from Worcestershire, the Black Country, the wider Midlands area and further afield, who at some time served there as regular soldiers or as national servicemen. This is the story of both the buildings that formed Norton Barracks, how, why and when they were built, and of the soldiers and other personnel who were based there as members of staff, service families, or who passed through as they underwent training. It covers the life of the barracks from 1874 to 2011, including the three major conflicts of the late 19th and the 20th Century, the Boer War, World War I and WWII. The author, Stan Jobson, has spent much time in the Regimental Archives unearthing both photographs and personal recollections of time spent at the barracks. The result is a tale of British Military history in microcosm, but often seen from a personal viewpoint of hard training, military structures, playful pranks, sporting achievements, patriotic surges, post D-Day traumas and both keen and reluctant National Servicemen. In addition to the many photographs spanning the lifetime of the depot, there is also an appendix which gives the background to the names of the streets which now criss-cross much of the site of what once was Norton Barracks, names which are largely associated with the battle honours of the Worcestershire Regiment.

 

The barracks located at the heart of the Worcestershire village of Norton Juxta Kempsey was built between 1874 and 1878 and the imposing Keep and barrack buildings has now been a feature of the village for over 140 years. The people of Norton are justly proud of their association with the barracks and with the Worcestershire Regiment. Coincidentally the Norton Worcestershire Regiment Group has begun the implementation of a number of projects to commemorate Norton Barracks and the soldiers of the Worcestershire Regiment who were based there from 1881 to 1962. One such project is the creation of a commemorative garden. The garden, part of a 4 year programme based around the 100th anniversary of the First World War, has been designed by children from the local Norton-Juxta-Kempsey First School following a competition organised by the group. Their winning design has been transformed into a special garden at the local St. Peter’s Garden Centre.

 

This book can be purchased at the Mercian Regiment Museum (Worcestershire), located within The Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum, Foregate Street, Worcester.

 

Some historical facts relating to Norton Barracks

 

  • The War Department purchased the 20.5 acres of land for £3500 in 1872.
  • Norton Barracks was built from 1877, at a cost of £65,000.
  • The barracks consisted of a gatehouse or ‘Keep’ with officers' quarters on one side and offices on the other. The entire area was enclosed by a 10 ft. high wall. In the 1940’s it was expanded with further building developed to take account of the numbers of men being recruited.
  • The main function of the barracks was to turn civilians into soldiers and to be the administrating home for the Worcestershire Regiment.
  • The barracks building was granted Grade 2 listed building status.
  • Ultimately the barracks building was sold by the Ministry of Defence to Wychavon District Council in 1990 for approximately £1.2 million. After this the land was sold off for a housing development to form, what is now, Brockhill Village, Norton.
  • The remaining sections of the actual barracks building have been converted into flats.

 

 

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Rev. Mark Badger

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01905 820057

07828 233049

  

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