Town mouse: the Royal Ordnance Depot

Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire, is in the geographical centre of England. That’s why Parliament, in 1803, decreed that the Royal Ordnance Depot should be established there. War may have been temporarily off with France, but the government was taking no chances. It worried that muskets, gunpowder and field ordnance were stored at various locations around the coast, vulnerable to capture during an invasion. The new depot was built centrally, on a canal. Capt Pilkington, the engineer responsible, is to be congratulated on the result.

** Subscribe to Country Life and save; Subscribe on Ipad

Once, there were handsome officers’ houses, demolished in more barbarous times and replaced with a housing estate. But the magazines and store houses remain, their red brick recalling the uniforms of the soldiers who manned them, as do some of the defences, including a portcullis. They’re splendid structures, listed Grade II*. But, Savills were pondering on a bitterly cold day last week, what to do with them? The cavernous spaces, full of columns to support heavy weights above, wouldn’t obviously convert into dwellings. Would some philanthropist like to donate the £10 million necessary to turn the depot into a centre for military re-enactment? It would give a lot of fun.

* Follow Country Life property on Twitter