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Below is the description of the Keep taken from the Listed Buildings Website of National Heritage

As at January 2011

Listing text


179-0/2/10002 Bedford Masonic Centre


Barracks armoury, stores and quarters, now masonic centre and offices. Dated 1876, designed at the War Office by 
Major HC Seddon RE; altered c1982. Brick with stone dressings, and hipped slate roof. Fortress Gothic Revival style. 
EXTERIOR: 3-storey and basement keep, 2-storeys and basement each side; 3:3:5:3:7:2-window range. Entrance block has corner towers set forward and pseudo-machicolations to a crenellated parapet, flush cill, transom and lintel bands, and eaves cornice. Central segmental archway has moulded arch and small doorways each side with shouldered lintels, and a label mould, narrow windows, with moulded transoms to the centre and right-hand tower, and sashes with margin panes. 1-, 2- and 3-lights transom windows to flanking ranges, the right-handend 2-window section set forward, the left-hand range has been truncated. Rear elevation similar, the left-hand range has two 2-storey porches with steps up to the SW end beneath tripartite windows. 
INTERIOR: has axial corridors, basement lock-ups and kitchens; fire-proof keep has cantilevered dogleg stairs with cast-iron balusters, and central rooms with jack-arch ceilings. 
HISTORY: the keep was a secure armoury and store, guard house and lock up, and the characteristic building of the Localisation depots. Built as part of the Cardwell reforms, which redistributed barracks around the country to strengthen the connection between a regiment and its locality and assist recruitment. Formerly the front to a parade ground and barracks. One of only eight surviving Cardwell'keeps', with the similar example at Worcester, and Reading, Guildford, Taunton, Devizes, Pontefract and Bury St Edmunds. (SAVE Britain's Heritage: Deserted Bastions, Historic Naval and Military Architecture: London: 1993-: 162; Watson Colonel Sir H M: History of the Corps of Royal Engineers: Chatham: 1954-: 157-160).


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