The Royal Military Academy, Woolwich was the training establishment for officers of the two "scientific" corps of the British Army from 1741-1947.[1]

Unlike the other branches of the army, where commissions could be purchased, the artillery and engineers were administered by the Board of Ordnance, who required that officers receive formal training. An academy was opened in the Royal Arsenal in 1720, receiving a royal charter to become the Royal Military Academy in 1741.[1] New buildings were constructed to the designs of James Wyatt to the north of Woolwich Common, opening in 1805.[1] [2] The buildings were extended in 1862 and partially rebuilt in 1873 and 1902.[2]


The academy was built in a distinctive Tudor-Gothic style, with the central block having octagonal corner towers in imitation of the Tower of London.[3]

With the outbreak of war in 1939 the academy closed. Following the ending of hostilities, the academy merged with the Royal Military School, Sandhurst in 1947 to from the new Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) which conducts the training of all British Army officers.[1]

The buildings continued in Ministry of Defence use until 2002, when they were declared surplus. Sold to an Irish development company in 2006 for housing and mixed use. Due to the Irish banking crisis, much of the proposed development failed to be completed, and ownership passed to the Irish Government's National Assets Management Agency (NAMA).[3] [4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Old Royal Military Academy, Royal Artillery Museum [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 Main Building, Royal Military Academy, British Listed Buildings [2]
  3. 3.0 3.1 Survey of London (Draft) Chapter 10: Woolwich Common and Royal Academy Areas, English Heritage, 2012 [3]
  4. Listed Building Consent Application, 2009 [4]

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