Landmark & Views

Exiles Building

Ascension Island / Africa

Exiles Building is one of the most imposing landmarks in Georgetown. It was built in 1830 as a single storey barracks to house the Marines stationed on the island. It still bears the cypher of King William IV and the date 1836. An extra floor was added in 1848, which brought the housing capacity up to 150 troops. A clock was added to mark the time instead of the firing of a gun each hour. The Marines joked that it chimed “Oh Gawd” every quarter of an hour as time seemed to pass so slowly on the island.It remained in use until 1903 and was then used as stores and emergency accommodation until 1922, when the Royal Navy left the island. During that time Maxim gun ammunition was kept in the cellar. A new barracks was built next door, though this was demolished in 1966. Exiles Building became the Ascension Club. The Exiles Club created their own shield and motto which they displayed in telegraph stations around the world. It shows a swimming horse with a trident (known as the Hippocamp) and the motto ‘Oceanus non dissociat’, which means ‘the ocean shall not separate’. Today it also houses several shops.

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