Where once soldiers were drilled!
Since 1999 almost all departments of Celle’s municipal administration have been combined in two buildings on the site of the former Heidekaserne (Heath Barracks). Almost all services are now available on one single site for Celle’s citizens.
The history of these buildings, however, began quite differently …
From 1873 the “Great Infantry Barracks” accommodated two battalions of the Hanoverian Infantry Regiment No. 77. The so-called “Heidekaserne” was one of the largest military compounds in the German Reich. The soldier’s quarters measured 5.95 m by 9.50 m each and housed 24 men in triple loft beds.
The wings were reserved for officers and non-commissioned officers as well as their families. The building is in neo-Gothic style, at that time favoured by the ruling Protestant Prussian dynasty. The Heath Regiment (77th Regiment) was disbanded in 1919 after World War I and in the following years of the Weimar Republic and Nazi dictatorship the barracks experienced changing occupants, although there were no major structural changes. In the post-war years the buildings were also occupied by successive British military units, the last one up to 1992 being the 14 Signal Regiment.
As early as 1979 the local newspaper “Cellesche Zeitung” quoted some citizens of Celle as saying they “hoped that with Celle’s long-term town planning these barracks would be demolished one day and a modern administrative centre built in its place”.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union military blocs with their potential threats ceased to exist. The Heath Barracks therefore became obsolete.
The history shows the difficult transition from a military building steeped in tradition to one used for peaceful means as a new town hall for Celle.