Topic: Wolseley Barracks
Wolseley Barracks Heating Plant
Anyone familiar with Wolseley Hall in London, Ontario, the original home of "D" Company of the Canadian Infantry School Corps, is familiar with the two views shown below. The iconic tower in the east wing of the "U" shaped building, formerly a carriageway and now the entry hall for The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum, and the smokestack at the south end of the parade square are well known to generations of soldiers who lived and trained here and to citizens of London.
It's easy to look at a familiar image and think there's nothing new to see. But compare the parade square image above with this one:
Note the smoke stack. Look closely at the postcard image, you will note the appearance of a low wide building at the base of the stack. This is not the image of the Wolseley Barracks parade square you thought you were familiar with.
The original design and construction of Wolseley Barracks included a boiler house set in the centre of the south end of the parade square.
This boiler house provided heat to the building via a steam pipe tunnel to the south wing. When this proved inadequare, additional steam pipes were run directly to the east and west wings. But this was still not sufficient for the frigid depths of Canadian winters. In 1898 a new system was installed, with large boilers in the basement of each wing to provide heat. This latter system also had its problems, including the 1903 explosion of twin boilers under the officers' mess in the south wing, an accident which resulted in the deaths of two soldiers of The Royal Canadian Regiment.
It is unlikely that the colour photos of the postacard were taken in 1898 or earlier, which leads to the question of when, exactly, the boiler house and smokestack were removed from the parade square.