Ancient Monuments

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Bullpoint gunpowder magazines and camber

A Scheduled Monument in St Budeaux, Plymouth

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Latitude: 50.3981 / 50°23'53"N

Longitude: -4.2028 / 4°12'10"W

OS Eastings: 243535.499745

OS Northings: 57673.238448

OS Grid: SX435576

Mapcode National: GBR R0C.S2

Mapcode Global: FRA 272Z.Y7B

Entry Name: Bullpoint gunpowder magazines and camber

Scheduled Date: 6 June 1982

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003059

English Heritage Legacy ID: PY 1022

County: Plymouth

Electoral Ward/Division: St Budeaux

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


Ordnance store with magazines, ancillary buildings, enclosure walls and a camber dock at Bull Point.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 15 October 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument, which falls into three areas, includes an ordnance store including magazines, specialist ancillary buildings, enclosure walls and a camber dock situated at Bull Point, Plymouth. The ordnance store was specifically designed and purpose-built for safely storing and victualling both returning and outgoing naval ships with ammunition, and survives as a series of stone built magazines with their protective stone revetted earthen bunds and blast walls, specialist storage buildings for different types of armaments and other ancillary buildings built largely of stone or brick under corrugated metal roofs, enclosure walls with gate piers one inscribed B (Board) O (Ordnance), and a rectangular reinforced stone-built camber dock with associated vaulted magazine. Several of the buildings retain original features like shuttered windows, boarded doors, glazing bars, timber trusses and tram rails. The magazines for the navy had been established at Keyham Point, but the changes in marine technology and petitions in 1841 from the inhabitants of the growing town of Devonport forced the CRE (Colonel Oldfield) to find a new site, which proved to be a protracted process. Construction of the magazines, enclosures and traverses began in 1851 and was largely completed by 1854, with only minor amendments by Colonel Holloway to Oldfield’s original and highly praised designs. Bull Point housed powder in four magazines and together with a specialist laboratory at St Budeaux and a floating magazine (Conquistador) formed part of an integrated complex with specialist buildings each designed to perform specific functions. Tram roads connected all the buildings and the ‘Receipt and Issue Magazine’ was located close to the camber dock which supplied the Conquistador moored half a mile away. The camber eventually proved to be inadequate in size and a new pier opposite the magazines was constructed. Developments in artillery technology required filled shells and fuses to detonate them. Storage room was required for wooden boxes in which shells were loaded onto ships for example. A further building campaign in 1893 – 1906 included the construction of the Cordite Store, Dry Guncotton Magazine, Wet Guncotton Store and QF (quick fire) Ammunition Store for guns increasingly used in naval warships.

The enclosure walls and gates are Listed Grade II, Building 13 -The Receipt and Issue Magazine - is Grade II*, Building 45 -The QF Ammunition Store - is Grade II and Building 43 – The barrel and case store- is Grade II.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The ordnance store with magazines, ancillary buildings, enclosure walls and a camber dock at Bull Point was the last great project by the Board of Ordnance, which was abolished in 1856. It formed part of an integrated complex which included a floating magazine, a specialised laboratory at St Budeaux where powder and armaments were checked and the powder re-mixed and re-stoved if necessary to ensure it was in a perfect state before being taken to the Bull Point magazines where up to 40,000 barrels of gunpowder were stored. In contrast to other yards, Bull Point was planned and provided from the outset with a set of specialist buildings dedicated to the various functions of processing and storing new types of ordnance, which also had a revolutionary effect on the design of naval ships and fortifications. All the buildings at Bull Point, including the magazines are mostly ashlar built with rock faced dressings and conform to a specifically coherent architectural style. It is both the finest ensemble of such buildings in any of the Ordnance Yards and a remarkable example of the integrated factory type planning so prevalent of the period. The 1893 – 1906 additions including the construction of the Cordite Store, Dry Guncotton Magazine and Wet Guncotton Store, so crucial for the later First World War are the best surviving group of this date and the QF Ammunition store is the finest example in Britain maintaining the high standards of construction begun in the 1850s.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-SX45NW60

Source: Historic England

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