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urbanks is a labour of love, a one-man band. There isn’t, strictly speaking, an ‘us’. As a solo project, the urbanks website grows incrementally, one page at a time. Concerned with urbanity, urbanks looks at the historical and geopolitical events that have shaped our towns and cities, primarily those of the 20th century.

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Nicholson Barracks

Nicholson Barracks were named after Field Marshal William Gustavus Nicholson, 1st Baron Nicholson, and were located on a main road into Mönchengladbach, just off the A52 Autobahn. They formed part of the larger Rheindahlen BOAR complex, with the barracks located about 15 kilometres north-east of JHQ. The complex is large, with 24 buildings, including living quarters and military garages.

The 3 Army Field Survey Depot of the British Army moved into Nicholson Barracks in 1955, having originally been based at Richmond Barracks in Bielefeld. Their task was to produce maps and overprints of enemy defence, as well as engage in various intelligence gathering activities. The division were well connected and subordinate to Joint Headquarters, which was located in the southwest of the same town, Mönchengladbach.

The British army left the barracks in 1995, handing the property back to the German authorities. Following the British departure, the Heeresunterstützungskommando – an army support command of the German military – moved to the vacant Nicholson Barracks. The barracks were at this point renamed, from Nicholson Barracks to the Niederrhein-kaserne.


The Heeresunterstützungskommando remained at the Niederrhein-kaserne until the year 2000, at which point they relocated to a barracks in Koblenz. Since then, the barracks have remain empty, and have succumbed to graffiti and metal theft.

In 2004, a property developer bought the old barracks, with plans to convert the buildings into casinos and sex shops – out of town debauchery, just off the A52 Autobahn. The plans were rejected, and the buildings remained empty, falling into an even greater state of disrepair.

More recently, there have been reports that a nearby company which rears and trains police dogs are interested in using the site as a training ground for the dogs. But there are no other prospective buyers, and the long-term future of the barracks remains uncertain. So, as of 2016, the barracks are still abandoned. A few of the buildings have suffered from irreversible decay, with, for example, collapsed roofs. They will probably have to be demolished. But many of the remaining buildings – despite being covered in graffiti – are salvageable, should there be desire to do so.

Nicholson Barracks Monchengladach Urban Exploring Urbex Niederrhein Kaserne
Nicholson Barracks Monchengladach Urban Exploring Urbex Niederrhein Kaserne
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