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An enquiry to Newbury Museum in late 1999 from English Heritage related to the whereabouts of the Hungerford Ordnance Depot in 1813-1814.

Jeremy Lake rang Newbury Museum to say that English Heritage were publishing a book - "Dangerous Energy: The Archaeology of Gunpowder and Military Explosives Manufacture" by Wayne Cockcroft (ISBN 1-85074-7180). They were trying to locate the site of the Hungerford Ordnance Depot. It was described in contemporary papers as being in Picket Field.

The Depot was described as being built by the Government for the storage of 106,000 barrels of gunpowder. This seems a very large store, and presumably it would have been for ordnance to issue to the infantry (regular militia & volunteers), Royal Artillery and engineers as required. 1813-14 was at the climax of the Napoleonic Wars (Battle of Waterloo, 1815).

It was built of bricks made at Fort Cumberland near Portsmouth, with a slate roof. The cement came from the factory at ?Ursey or ?Ersey. There was a double wall, so that a fire could be lit between the two to ensure that the damp was kept out!

The Ordnance Depot was recorded (in a document at the National Archives, reference unknown) as being in Picket Field - the area around Highclose Farm, about 5km west of Hungerford along the A4 road towards Froxfield. The OS Map of 1881 clearly shows a "Magazine (Disused)" just to the west of Highclose Farm. There is no trace on the ground now of any such building, but this is the approximate site of a World War II pillbox.

Photo Gallery:

1881 os - magaz...
1881 os - magazine 1881 os - magazine
Picket Field an...
Picket Field and the Bath Road, undated Picket Field and the Bath Road, undated

- From the 1881 OS Map, showing "Magazine (Disused) just to the west of Highclose Farm and The Barracks.

- Picket Field and Bath Road, undated.

See also:

- The Barracks

- Berkshire Yeomanry