Bermuda Dockyards Documentation Project
The Royal Navy Dockyard is situated on the west side of Bermuda, 5 km north-west of Hamilton. In 1951 the last military buildings were closed, but from 1974, the Royal Navy Dockyard was transformed into a very popular Museum and tourist area.
A big part of the Dockyard is the area around the former Casemate Barracks – the second oldest historic building of the Bermuda Dockyard. The name of Casemate Barracks, the first word in singular, derives from the construction of the roof of the barracks and the two adjacent ordnance buildings. Like the largest gunpowder magazine of this period (1830s to 1850s) the buildings had a “casemated” roof up to five feet thick. This was formed by constructing an arch of brick, the underside of which becomes the ceiling of the building. The upper side of the arch of some six layers of brickwork was levelled with concrete or mortar, to make the whole structure “bombproof” against incoming cannonballs from the American forces, then the designated enemy. In the two ordnance buildings at the Casemates complex, the brickwork of the roofing arches is apparent on the facades, but at the barracks, it is hidden behind a course of hard Bermuda limestone, where false windows also mask the construction form of the roof.