Galliard Homes Limited

The History of HMS Ganges

Development
The original entrance gates of HMS Ganges base taken in 1912.

Developed in partnership with Wavensmere Homes, Barrelmans Point, which is regenerating the former HMS Ganges Naval base in Shotley near Ipswich, welcomes a new 60-acre waterside village comprising 300 newly built and converted homes, including two to five-bedroom houses to the market.

Approximately one hour into central London by train from IpswichBarrelmans Point is situated on a coastal site at the southern end of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Located off Marsh Lane (B1456), on a site that runs down to the water and the adjacent Shotley Marina and boatyard, the new village is designed around the River Stour/Orwell waterfront and a commercial centre which is planned to provide nearly 10,000 square feet of new and converted commercial and leisure premises including a proposed grocer, gymnasium, children’s play areas, library and screening room. 

The landmark project includes the preservation and restoration of several designated Royal Navy heritage assets within the former Naval base, including the Grade II listed ceremonial mast, Grade II listed entrance gates, a mid-19th Century Fort and two Martello Towers.

Between 1810-1812 and 1850-1851, the land was developed into a Napoleonic-era Fort, complete with the Martello Towers (built in 1810), used to protect the estuary against French invasion. Between 1905 and 1976, the site was used as a Naval training base, HMS Ganges, which trained over 160,000 school leavers to become Naval trainees. Accessed through ornate entrance gates, facilities at the base included a central parade ground with a 142 ft. high ceremonial mast (the foremast of HMS Cordelia), which trainees manned for training and ceremony purposes. The parade ground was bordered by Edwardian brick buildings, including the Nelson’s Hall (built in 1937), Gymnasium, Classrooms and Officers Mess/Quarters. 

Naval trainees on the historic mast, pictured in 1917.

HMS Ganges had many Royal visitors over the decades including Edward, Prince of Wales (visited in 1930), HM The Queen (visited in 1961), HRH Prince Philip (1956, 1973 & 1976), Lord Mountbatten (1975), HRH Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent (1941), and HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (1943), with the VIP guests watching Naval drills in front of the ceremonial mast and touring the Naval facilities and the historic Fort and Towers. When the naval base closed in 1976, HRH Prince Philip took the final salute, marking the departure of the Navy.    

An aerial view of the site, taken in 1930

Between 1979 and 1999, the base continued to be used by the military and other services, with the Officers Quarters providing accommodation for the RAF, and between 1986 and 1999, the facility was used as a Police Training Centre for forces from the East Anglia Region. The nearby adjacent Shotley Marina and Boatyard, which opened in 1986, was originally a seaplane torpedo testing and manufacturing centre founded in 1919, which was linked to the Naval base. 

Now, an exciting new chapter in the history of HMS Ganges is upon us, with the transformation of the Naval base into Barrelmans Point, a new waterside village of beautifully designed new homes just a stone’s throw from Ipswich.

Accessed from Main Road (B1456), there will be a grand central boulevard that will run through the new village down to the waterfront and Shotley Marina. In the centre of the village will be the new village hub, which will consist of transforming the central parade ground and mast into a new village green with the adjoining Edwardian buildings forming a vibrant new retail and leisure hub for the village. 

Once the village is completed, the original Nelson’s Hall will serve as a café, library, screening room and co-working hub and the historic mast will proudly stand in all its restored glory!

Following the careful dismantling of the mast in June 2022, an 18-month restoration programme commenced to refurbish the 142 ft. mast back to its former glory. The mast - which dates back to 1865 - is a regional landmark and has undergone specialist restoration to repair the rust and rot which took hold since the mast was last manned in 1974. The authentic restoration uses as much of the original material as possible and was undertaken by local specialists, TS Rigging with the aim to reinstate the mast back to its original condition for residents and the local community to admire once again.

A CGI of Barrelmans Point

Around the village hub, the residential parts of Barrelmans Point are being launched and built in three phases. The first phase is located off Marsh Lane and provides 81 newly built two to five-bedroom houses with elegant brick and render facades, canopied entrance porches and stunning open-plan designs. All are located on generously sized plots providing private front and rear gardens and garaging/parking, all with electric car charging points. Because of the vast size of the former Naval base, the houses benefit from abundant open space and parkland. 

Most two-bedroom houses will enjoy an open plan kitchen and living room, with French doors opening onto a patio and rear garden. The three-bedroom houses will typically have a dual-aspect front-to-back double reception room, a kitchen/breakfast room and a separate dining room. The larger four- and five-bedroom houses have spacious kitchens/dining rooms, with French doors opening onto the patio and rear garden. There is also a living room, family room and home office. 

A CGI exterior of a house at Barrelmans Point

In the larger houses, all the principal bedroom suites have an ensuite bathroom alongside a family bathroom. In a selection of the larger houses, the loft space above the garage can be adapted to provide a children’s games room or annexe, subject to planning. 

The homes at Barrelmans Point are being built to a specification that combines contemporary styling and ergonomic design. The hand-selected fixtures and fittings have been carefully chosen to balance function and energy efficiency with good design and premium quality. 

Kitchens boast beautiful shaker-style units and selected integrated Zanussi appliances, whilst bathrooms have contemporary sanitaryware complemented by large format floor and wall tiles. The ground floors boast luxury vinyl flooring with pendant lighting and carpets in the bedrooms. The front and rear gardens will be turfed and benefit from an outside cold water tap. 

Prices at Barrelmans Point start from £290,000 for a two-bedroom house. For further information on Barrelmans Point, call us today on 02034092270.

Edited: 10th January 2024