The Copthorne Barracks
On September 21st 1872 the UK Shrewsbury Town Council had a meeting at which the Town Clerk reported that Lt. Colonel Akus of the War Department had approached him with plans for a new barracks on the Shropshire site of the House of Correction at Kingsland.
The Town Council were still debating the matter when Shrewsbury School nipped in with an offer that enabled them to move from the town centre to their present Shrewsbury location. A barracks had to be built within two miles of the town centre so the next best site was the land between Copthorne Road and The Mount all of which was privately owned pasture land. The UK War Department had offered £12,000 for the Kingsland site but there is no mention of the sum for the Copthorne land.
In a copy of 'Salopian Shreeds and Patches', a weekly Shropshire magazine dated 11th December 1878, there is a full account of the building of Copthorne Barracks. The British builders were a local firm Treasure & Sons and the contract was the largest ever awarded in the district, £50,000. Building of the barracks started in 1877, the area covered about nine acres, about four million bricks were used and the Superintendent was John Tart.
A description of the Shropshire buildings followed which were executed in the most modern style with Maws tiles and gas lighting by the Shrewsbury, UK Gas Company. The whole area must have benefited from the contract and it was recorded that, 'notwithstanding the large number of hands employed on the ground not a single accident or mishap has occurred which may in great measure be attributed to the excellent tackle and machinery employed and the careful supervision exercised'.
The new barracks included a hospital and married quarters, stabling, stores and the whole area was bounded by walls fifteen feet high.