Heritage

Arborfield Cross first became a Military Station in March 1904 when part of the land on which Arborfield Garrison now stands was released by the Walters family of Bearwood and was occupied by the Remount Depot which was part of the Aldershot Command.

Land on lease was purchased by the War Office in 1911 and the Remount Depot was expanded in 1914, and in 1932, when further enabling land was bought. The Depot was disbanded in 1937.

At the time of acquisition in 1904, the land was worked by three farms; Bigg’s Farm, Old Bigg’s Farm and Ellis’s Farm. These farms provided much of the accommodation needed by the Remount Depot; stabling for the horses, barns for storing forage, and for garaging wagons and farm implements, and quarters for most of the staff.

Some additional building was necessary to furnish a full range of facilities. The Moat House was constructed in 1906, as a residence for the Superintendent who lived in the Village.

Additional stabling was erected for newly purchased sick horses, it had to be isolated from the rest of the stock; these buildings were officially described as the Reception Stables, and the Infirmary Stables. A small swimming pool was used for the rehabilitation of horses, and accommodation for the Veterinary Officer and the Farrier Major. The old infirmary stables were no longer needed for that function and became ordinary stables, with a cinder exercising yard built outside and a horse exercise shed.

By the mid 1930’s, the pace of mechanising the Army had gathered such impetus that the days of the horse were strictly numbered and a further reduction in the Remount Services was dictated. The Depot at Arborfield was closed in June 1937 and its commitments were transferred to Melton Mowbray.

Since that time a variety of military units have resided in Arborfield Garrison, primarily the REME. Each modified the premises at the old Remount Depot to its own peculiar needs, and two major rebuilding schemes have removed most of the original buildings.

The two Infirmary Stables are the last remaining vestige of the Remount Depot. The current setting does not reflect the original (or the developed surroundings) of the former infirmary stables. The asset is now located in a much changed and ‘degraded’ setting from a heritage perspective.

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