The Victoria Fort and Albert Barracks are near the royal children's Swiss Cottage in the grounds of Osborne, at East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. These were constructed in 1861: "Out rather late, walking with the girls, Fritz & Ernest, to the Swiss Cottage, where we found Mama & all the other children, & where the Boys had built a little fort, under Mr Cowell's direction, — as a surprise," wrote the Queen in her journal for Saturday 24 May 1856 (Fritz was Frederick III of Germany, her eldest daughter Vicky's husband; Ernest was Prince Albert's elder brother; and Mr Cowell was Lieutenant Cowell, Alfie's superior).

Prince Arthur, ten years old at the time, helped build the Albert Barracks in 1860, and a drawbridge was added in the following year (see Turner 35). All this was against the backdrop of the Crimean War of 1854-56, the uprising in India in 1857, and continuing problems elsewhere (especially the latest Opium War in China). Prince Albert was personally involved with building work for the army garrison at Aldershot at this time, too: the Prince Consort's Library there was built 1859-60.

Text and photographs by Jacqueline Banerjee. Special thanks to English Heritage for permitting photography at Osborne, and for allowing the photographs to be shared on a non-commercial basis. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL or cite it in a print document. [Click on all the images to enlarge them.]

Related Material


Queen Victoria's Journals. Web. 16 September 2017.

Turner, Michael. Osborne. Rev. reprint. London: English Heritage, 2016.

Created 16 September 2017