The Main Guard is the only surviving guard house, of four, in what was a military town: Berwick-upon-Tweed changed hands between the Scots and the English frequently until the English captured it in 1482. In the 18th century there was a garrison of 240 officers and men, billeted in the barracks, which were built in 1721, and four guardhouses near the town's main gates. The Main Guard is recorded in 1727 when there was complaint about its siting: at the time it occupied what is now the site of the Guildhall. After being demolished and moved twice - in 1741 and 1815, with some changes to its appearance, the portico columns are 19th-century in style - the building is much the same as it was 1799.
The principal purpose of the Main Guard was to house the soldiers on guard duty, to provide a secure holding place for the drunk and disorderly in the central room called 'the black hole', and to enforce a night-time curfew, when no one, except those with special permission, was allowed to enter the town after dark. Even though doctors and midwives were exempted, they were often detained for a long time at the gates during the night, usually because the sentry was too lazy to check their passports; sometimes accidents happened as when an intoxicated sentry allowed the gate's wooden bar to crash down on a rider or horse. The curfew was abolished when the barracks closed in 1815; Berwick kept its official status as a garrison with a military governor until 1850.
The Civic Society needs to raise about pounds 30,000, and so far it has raised pounds 18,000. For further information, contact: the Berwick-upon-Tweed Civic Society, 21 Quay Walls, Berwick-upon- Tweed, Northumberland TD15 1HB, telephone 0289 305120.
Photograph: Mathew Polak
The World Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief today marks the first anniversary of the death of its founder, Gp Capt Lord Cheshire. Founded in 1989, the Fund aims to raise money in memory of all those who have lost their lives in war this century. It is estimated that about 100 million have died as a direct result of warfare. The fund wants to raise pounds 5 for each of them to collect pounds 500m, and use the income to help victims of war or natural disasters.
The World Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief, PO Box 39, 3 Throgmorton Avenue, London EC2N 2WW, telephone 071-638 6442.
The Stackpole Centre, which runs holidays and courses for people with disabilities, is appealing for pounds 13,000 to complete its Sense Garden, in a two-acre walled garden. So far, the 'Sound' playground has been built, in the shape of an ear, with outdoor musical instruments such as xylophones, wind chimes and resonating slap drums. There is also a 'Touch' areaand a 'Sight' area. The centre cannot begin work on the 'Smell' area until it has raised the funds.
The Stackpole Centre, Home Farm, Stackpole, Pembroke, Dyfed SA71 5DQ, telephone 0646 661425.
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