The Little Keep
Barrack Road

Phone: 01305 228528


Little Keep Building in Dorchester


The Little Keep stands at the far end of the old parade ground opposite The Keep, It served as the Officer’s quarters of the Militia Barracks which stood on this site before the Depot Barracks were built. The ‘Little Keep’ is now all that remains of the old Militia Barracks.

The ‘Little Keep’ was the entrance to these Barracks. The central portion was originally intended to be the Quartermasters stores but was commandeered by the Colonel for his own use. The right wing of the building was to be guard rooms, lock -ups, and the paymaster sergeant’s quarters; the left wing was to be more lock-ups, the orderly room and the Sergeant-Major’s quarters. To the rear of this building stood the new stores, separated from the ‘Little Keep’ by a parade ground. There were also two shops – an armourer’s and a tailor’s. Under the stores, below ground, was the powder magazine. Flanking the ‘Little Keep’ and the stores was a brick built hospital with two large wards, surgery and staff quarters. To the rear of the building was a third ward ‘the itch ward’ for those with scabies. Underground were kitchens, pantries, sculleries and larders.

The Militia barracks were completed in 1866. The buildings now known as the ‘Little Keep’ were built from Ridgeway stone with Bath stone dressing. Behind the ‘Little Keep’ was a brick built hospital. Entrance to the site was on what is now Poundbury Road, opposite the Royal Horse Artillery Barracks (now The Rifles TA Centre).

Creative Spaces

Today, The Little Keep serves a more creative role, leased by The Arts Development Company from Dorset County Council and home to several creative arts organisations and other community and third sector organisations. Find out more about who is in the building with us here. If you are interested in joining us in the building we have some more office spaces free and hot desking for creatives with reasonable price – follow this link to find out more.