The Barracks of the 2nd Warwickshire Militia, Barrack Road, (now Clapham Terrace), Leamington Spa
With the exception of the years of the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny Campaigns, the 2nd Warwickshire Militia were trained and billeted in the town from 1853 until the erection of Budbrooke Barracks in 1877. Recruits assembled in April, and were joined by more experienced men in May. In 1857, the Militia Barracks (above) in Clapham Terrace were built to house the stores and permanent staff. The regiment paraded every morning in Clapham Terrace, after which, led by its fine band, the men marched through the town to the Cricket Field (later Victoria Park), for Drill Practice. A second Drill was held in the afternoon. Official inspections were carried out by Lord Leigh in his uniform as Lord Lieutenant.
To offset the rigours of training, a reading room with light refreshments was available in the evening at the Town Hall. Concerts and entertainments were organised at the Public Hall in Windsor Street. Officers dined at the Regent Hotel, entertained by the band stationed in the garden.
The Militia’s daily drilling, marching and military band provided Leamington residents and visitors with a lively and interesting spectacle during April and May. They were sadly missed, along with the trading income they brought to the town when the yearly training sessions ceased. Now residential housing, a large portion of the Barracks still exists, opposite Clapham Terrace Primary School.
Images: Outline drawing of Barracks: Wm Kendall, County Surveyor July 29 1856. (Bill Gibbons archive), Photograph: Barry Franklin
Jo Clark, Summer 2013