Saturday, 27 December 2014

Salford Infantry Barracks, Regent Road

See also: Cross Lane Barracks, Salford ; The Militia Barracks on Eccles New Road, Salford.

Construction of the Salford Infantry Barracks on Regent Road began on 1 November 1819.  This date is significant, occurring only weeks after the Peterloo Massacre, which took place on 16 August 1819. To place the disposition of this military installation in its wider historical context, we need to consider events before and after this bloody confrontation.

click on images to enlarge
Plan of Salford Infantry Barracks (1850)
Source: John Rylands Library
The Age of Enlightenment left a legacy of ideas promoting personal freedom, equality, societal reform and democracy. These ideals resulted in the American Revolution (1776) and the French Revolution (1789).  Such politically radical events were threatening to the British ruling class. who responded with various repressive measures designed to arrest the spread of political reform.  Their apprehension was heightened by incidents like the Despard Plot, the March of the Blanketeers, and various other riots and unrest

The period following the Napoleonic Wars was one of severe economic distress. The cost of the conflict with France left Britain with a national debt of £848 million. Many suffered high taxes, negligible political representation, stagnant wages (Luddism), skyrocketing food prices (exacerbated by the Corn Laws) and poor living conditions, especially for the burgeoning working class. In protest, tens of thousands of people from Manchester, and its surrounding areas, assembled peaceably at St. Peter's Field. The government was alarmed, and responsed with force. Mounted militia, [1] with sabres drawn, slashed and trampled the unarmed crowd, littering the field with hundreds of wounded and dead bodies.  The massacre was followed by more repressive laws and arrests.  On the day after the Peterloo Massacre the following poster was issued.

When we consider the events above, it seems reasonable to conclude that the initial purpose of building the Salford Infantry Barracks was that its garrison could be used to quell any potential insurrection that might arise in the district.  Even as late as 1881, a company of the 8th Infantry, stationed at the Salford Barracks, was used to suppress a mob of angry miners at Howe Bridge, Atherton.

Troop Deployment to the Salford Infantry Barracks

The following shows the regiments, or elements of regiments, that were stationed at the Salford Infantry Barracks. Unless otherwise noted, much of the information has been gleaned from the church records of nearby St. Barthomew, Salford (founded in 1841 on Oldfield Rd.).  The dates reflect those given in the records for baptisms and marriages, and do not represent the duration of unit deployment at the barracks. However, they do provide a useful framework.  After the Childer's Reforms of 1881, some soldiers continued to use their old regimental designations.

1824  96th Regiment of Foot
A new 96th was raised five years later on 6 February 1824 at Salford Barracks, Manchester. It was allowed to carry the battle honours awarded its predecessor - Peninsular, Egypt and the Sphinx.
1830 59th Regiment of Foot 
(Major Richard Cust of the 59th died at Salford Barracks on 3 August)
1831  60th Rifle Corps
 A detachment [of the 2nd Battalion] of the 60th Rifle Corps, stationed at Salford Barracks, was involved in an accident on the Broughton Suspension Bridge crossing the River Irwell.  
1833: 18th (The Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot 
"On Tuesday morning last, a duel was fought in a field adjoining Regent Road, and opposite the end of Cross Lane; but the facts connected with it have been so carefully concealed by the parties, that we are quite unable to give any exact statement of the particulars. According to the most probable account we have heard, the belligerents were two officers of the 18th Infantry, a detachment of which regiment is stationed in the Regent Road Barracks. It is said that the cause of quarrel was some misunderstanding at the mess, in consequence of which a challenge was sent, and the parties met at day-light. On the first fire, one of the parties, said to be a Lieutenant Strachan, fell, having been shot through both thighs, just above the knee. He was immediately removed to the Duke of York public house, in Regent Road [see above plan], where he now lies. It has been stated, we believe erroneously, that one of his legs had been amputated ; but such is the secrecy observed, that it is extremely difficult to ascertain that or any other fact connected with the affair.—Manchester Guardian. [Here is a full, true, and particular account of an affair, including names, places, dates ; and the only fact known to the narrator, connected or not connected with it, is that the 18th Infantry have at present a detachment in the Regent Road Barracks. ] " Spectator 6 Oct 1832
"August 1833: Headquarters ordererd to Salford Barracks, Manchester, where the detachments rejoined." Campaigns and History of the Royal Irish Regiment from 1684 to 1902
Court Martial of William Wilmore
William Wilmore, stationed at the Salford Barracks, was court martialed on 18 June 1832 for desertion, and transported to Australia 24 August 1833.
Source: Founders and Survivors
1833-4  85th Regiment of Foot  

Edward Wright was court martialled at Salford Barracks on 10 January 1834, and transported to Australia. He had been with the 85th for 17 years. [2]
John Roche of the 85th murdered a fellow soldier, Daniel Maggs 

1834-35 80th Regiment of Foot

1840  96th Regiment of Foot

London Standard 2 June 1840 p.3

184260th Rifles
December 1842 to May 1843.
1843 65th Regiment of Foot
1843  8th Regiment of Foot.
 [elements of the 15th Regiment housed at the Tib St. Barracks, Manchester, were placed under guard at the Salford Barracks]. See London Magnet 5 June 1843
1845  26th Regiment of Foot 
1845  83 Regiment 
(March -May)
1846-47  69th Regiment of Foot 
1848-50: 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment
Sept 1848 - Jan 1850
 1851 90th Regiment of Foot 
1851 25th Regiment of Foot 
(May - August)
1852: 82nd Regiment of Foot 
(Nov)  See: William Coffey VC
1853: 33rd Regiment of Foot
1853-54: 7th (Royal) Fusiliers
December 1853 - March 1854. See also: Memoir of Maj.-Gen. F.E. Appleyard ; Locations of Battalions
1854 36th Regiment of Foot
1854-55: 51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding)
 Sept 1854 - August 1855.  See: William Neame
Sir H.G.W. Smith distributed medals, at the Regent Road Barracks, Salford, June 4th, to those officers and men of the 51st Regiment who fought in the Burmese War. Colours were presented to this regiment by Lady Wiltshire, June 6. Annals of Manchester
1855: 37th Regiment of Foot
1856-57  25th Regiment of Foot  
(Apr 1856 - Apr 1857)
(Nov 1857 - June 1858)
(June 1858 - July 1859)
1859-60  96th Regiment of Foot 
(Dec.1859 - Apr 1860)
1860-6184th (York and Lancaster) Regiment of Foot
"Thomas Hargreaves, colour-sargeant of the 84th Regiment, a man of good character, shot himself through the head with his rifle, in the Regent Road Barracks, Manchester." Spectator 22 September 1860 
Baptism record: Apr 1861. See also Bisset Generations
1861-62 1st Royal Regiment of Foot
 (June 1861 - Apr 1862)
1861-63 Royal Artillery 
(Nov 1861 - Jan 1863)
(Feb 1863 - July 1864) [sent to Richmond Barracks, Dublin]
(Aug 1864 - Feb 1865)
1865 64th Regiment of Foot 
1865 Royal Artillery
1865 85th King's Light Infantry
1866 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot 
Colours presented by Sir Sydney Cotton

Presentation of the Colours to the 39th Regiment at Salford Barracks
Source: Illustrated London News 22 September 1866

1867 54th Regiment of Foot 
1867 37th Regiment of Foot
(Nov 1867-Mar 1868)
(Sept 1868 -Sep 1869)
1869 100th Regiment of Foot
(Oct) [from Gallowgate Barracks]
(Dec. 1870 - June 1872) 
1872-73 31st Regiment of Foot 
(Aug 1872 - Apr 1873)
(Sep. 1872 - July 1873)
(Nov 1873- May 1874)
(Sep. 1874 - July 1875)
(Jan - June)
(Mar 1876 - July 1877) [sent to Beggars Bush Barracks, Dublin]
(Oct 1877 - Sep 1878)
(Dec. 1878 - Mar 1879)
1879-1880  11th (North Devonshire) Regiment  1st Btn.
(May 1879 - Mar 1880)  moved to Salford March 1879
(Apr-Dec) [sent to Chatham Barracks]
(Feb.-Oct) [1/8 Regt.]
(Apr-May) [transferred from New Barracks, Shrewsbury]
1881 Explosion

The bombing of the Salford Barracks on 14 January 1881 was the opening shot of the Irish Republican Brotherhood's campaign against the Crown that lasted until 1885. [5] The British newspapers of the day referred to the Irish nationalists as Fenians, which included a cadre of Irish-Americans. Their guerilla offensive is known to historians as the Fenian Dynamite Campaign.  

The regiment at Salford Barracks during the bombing of 1881 was the 8th (The King's) Regiment, which some sources refer to as the 8th Light Infantry.  Consequent to the Childers Reforms, the 8th (The King's) Regiment was renamed the King's (Liverpool Regiment on 1 July 1881. An account of the bombing is recorded in their regimental history.

Source: Papers by Demand (Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons)
 v. 10 (1905)

Sydney Mail 12 March 1881  [4]

Annals of Manchester

1881 Explosion at Salford Barracks
Damage to the butcher's shed
Source: Illustrated London News 22 January 1881

1882   (Royal Dublin Fusiliers) (103rd Regiment of Foot)
(Jan - June)
1883  South Wales Borderers  (24th Regiment of Foot)
(Mar - June)
(Sep 1885-Jan 1886)
 "The following removal of troops [of] the northern district take place below —2nd battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment stationed at Salford Barracks, Manchester, will proceed to Liverpool..." 
March 16, 1886 - Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser

Photo credit: Ottowa Valley Irish

1886-87 Lancashire Fusiliers (20th Regiment)
(Sep 1886 - Nov1887)
1887 Devonshire Regiment (11th Regiment)
(Sep 1888) 1 Lancashire Fusiliers(May 1888 -Dec 1889) XXth Regiment
1889-91 Cheshire Regiment  [2nd Btn.]
(Nov 1889 -Apr 1891) [see: King Williams College Register]
1891-92  East Yorkshire Regiment [2nd Btn.]
(Aug 1891 - Dec 1892) [1893 sent to Fulwood Barracks]
1892  Cheshire Regiment 
1893-94 King's Liverpool Regiment
(Apr 1893 - Sep 1894; Aug 1894 2nd Btn.)
1895-96  Royal Welch Fusiliers (23rd Regiment of Foot)
(Jan 1895 - Oct 1896) [3]


In the Parliamentary Debates (1896), the closure of the Hulme Cavalry and Salford Barracks was being discussed. Regarding the Salford Infantry Barracks, it was said that:
"The barracks at Salford have such unsatisfactory drainage that they cannot be occupied without very considerable reconstruction."
It appears that the sewage system was so bad that the barracks were vacated and the garrison moved to Hulme Barracks on 30 April 1896.  Apparently, only a 4-inch drainage pipe was laid in 1850 to service the barracks.  The hospital facilities were also found to be substandard.

1900 Barracks sold

Source: Parliamentary Debates (1901)

Source: Sessional Papers. House of Commons v. 38 (1901)

Bartholomew's Map 1900 showing site of barracks cleared

"... the New Barracks Estate, Salford which was built between 1900-1904 on the site of a former early C19 infantry barracks. The estate was Salford Corporation's first housing scheme, and not only provided housing, but also community buildings, including Salford Girls' Institute (destroyed during WWII), Salford Lads' Club (1903, Grade II) and the Church of St Ignatius." 

The Housing Authority (1910) planned to build 108 4-roomed working-class houses on the 10 1/2 acre 'Barracks Site', anticipating rents between 5/11 and 6/3 per week.

The Barracks

Swire's Map of Manchester & Salford 1824

Duffield's Map of 1845 showing expansion of buildings

  • The Salford Infantry Barracks seen above (Illustrated London News 1866) shows that it was built in the neoclassical style, and is reminiscent of the earlier Collins Barracks, Dublin.  
  • "Special conveniences for ablution have already been constructed at the Salford Barrack..."  Army medical department Report for the year 1868

  • "The barracks for infantry, situated in the Regent's road, Salford, are very extensive, and form a compact range of building calculated for the reception of 1000 men, and affording, within the enclosure, ample ground for exercise and every requisite accommodation." 1840

  • "The cavalry barracks, in Chester road [Hulme, Manchester], were erected for the accommodation of upwards of 260 horses, 400 men, and 20 officers, but the materials comprising the whole have heen advertised for sale, this description of force being intended to be concentrated in future at the new barracks, Regent's road, Salford, where also are barracks for the accommodation of l000 foot soldiers." 1840
  • "The military stationed in this district [Manchester] are under the control of Colonel Wemyss, Assistant Adjutant-General, who recently succeeded to that appointment on the retirement of Lieut.-Colonel Shaw Kennedy, a highly esteemed oificer. The Cavalry Barracks are in Hulme, those for the Infantry in the Regent's Road Salford... The Infantry Barracks are calculated to accommodate 3 Field Officers, 22 Subalterns, 10 Captains, 700 Men."  1836
  • "The infantry barracks, in the Regent's road, Salford, will afford quarters for 1000 men, and are in other respects extremely convenient." 1837
  • " The Infantry Barracks are very extensive, and situated in Regent's Road, Salford. They will afford quarters for a thousand men, and have also a large space of ground, sufficiently capacious for all the evolutions necessary in reviewing a Regiment of Infantry." 1826
  •  A fire engine was housed at Salford Infantry Barracks in 1870
  •  "The Infantry Barracks are in Regent-road, Salford, and afford accommodation for 700 men and 35 officers...and ample room for infantry exercise" (1842)  (Accommodation: more than 700 men plus officers, 1857 1858 1889: nearly a complete regiment, 1868 1882}
  •  "Andrew Brady, ... Retail Dealer in Ale and Ginger Beer Manufacturer, then of No. 11, Cooper's-place, Seddin-street, Salford, in the said county, and occupying a Shop at the Canteen, in the Infantry Barracks, Salford aforesaid, Provision Dealer and Ginger Beer Manufacturer, and and late of No. 11, Cooper's-place aforesaid, and occupying the said Shop at the Canteen aforesaid, Provision Dealer, and occasionally Assistant to a Ginger Beer Manufacturer."  1848 (The Gazette)

Salford Reporter ca. 1977

The She Battery

The She Battery was a dangerous and poverty-stricken area opposite the Salford Infantry Barracks.

"The She Battery," I remarked, "if I mistake not, is opposite the Regent-road Barracks ?" "Yes," answered our guide. "It is the worst quarter in Salford. Nearly all the houses we shall see there are sub-letting houses." "Tell me what is meant by a sub-letting lodging house ?" "It is soon done," continued our guide. "A person, man or woman, rents a house with five or seven rooms, pays the landlord, say, a weekly sum of 6s. or 7s. a week, he or she—the tenant you know—sub-lets the rooms he does not occupy to casual lodgers for 2s. 6d., 2s., or 1s. 6d. a week, according to size and storey." ...  The Barracks were reached, and leaving them on our left, as we crossed over, we found ourselves in Providence-street, one of the many which form the block known as the She Battery." Source: The Tablet 29th September 1888
The 'She Battery' Mob, a gang of scuttlers, flourished around 1870.

Of Interest

National Archives. Salford Barrack Record plans (1888)
Hand-written letter from Salford Barracks (8 May 1871)
Richard Atherton Ffarington


[1] "...the militia was the weapon of the propertied classes for maintaining existing conditions and the public order" The State: Critical Concepts, Volume 1. ed. by John A. Hall (1994)
[2]  Other transportations from Salford Barracks: Edmond Burke ; Thomas Bird, Patrick Holden, Samuel Hall, Peter Flynn, James Whelan ; Edward Flinn
[3] Letter from Charles Edward Bancroft (Salford Barracks; Royal Welch Fusliliers, 31 May 1895) to Sir Henry Irving
[4] See also: Poverty Bay Herald
[5] See: Lindsay Clutterbuck thesis ; An Phoblacht


  1. George Geddings, Private 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment was stationed at Salford Barracks with others in his regiment for the night of the 1851 Census (refer HO107-2224-folio 24]
    Diane Oldman

  2. Superb article, thank you for putting all this together.