IF anyone asks you the name of the barracks on Fulford Road, you know the answer, right? Imphal, of course.

And very imposing they are, too. The MoD announced plans to sell off the barracks a couple of years ago - along with a host of other Ministry properties across the country. But that won't be for some years, yet - and at the moment the barracks are still the HQ of the British Army's 1st (UK) Division. They certainly look the part, with a massive stone 'keep' and main gate fronting onto Fulford Road that was built in 1877, when the British Empire was at its zenith.

Imphal Barracks, however, is a relative latecomer. Just up the road, roughly where York police station now stands, there was once an imposing cavalry barracks. This was built between 1795 and 1796, when the British ruling class felt threatened by the French Revolution - and also by unrest at home.

The cavalry barracks are long gone now. But we came came across a couple of photos of them recently while browsing Explore York's online Imagine York photo archive. The photos date from about 1910 - and, alongside them, there was also an image of the entrance to the infantry barracks (it wasn't called Imphal then - that name came later) that we hadn't seen before.

We reproduce all three photos here - together with a few images of Imphal dug out of our own files, and one supplied a few years ago by reader Bryan Thornton.

York history as a military city goes back far earlier even than the building of the cavalry barracks, of course - at least to Roman times, in fact, when the fortress of Eboracum was founded by the Ninth Legion in 71 AD.

A thousand years later, after the Norman conquest, William the Conqueror built two castles either side of the Ouse near its confluence with the Foss from which to oppress unruly northerners following his ‘harrying of the north’. And during the Civil War, a Royalist garrison was stationed in Clifford’s Tower. After the city fell to the Parliamentarians, a Parliamentary garrison moved in instead.

By about 1720, military quarters had been established off what is now Fishergate. And in 1792, a few years after the start of the French Revolution, William Pitt launched a barracks-building programme - although it seems to have been intended more as a way of keeping the peace at home rather than preparing for war with France.

Land was bought in Fulford Field in 1793, and a large cavalry barracks was built between 1795 and 1796. Three troops of ‘ancient British fencibles’, or light dragoons, moved in in October 1795.

According to Graeme Green, the retired Dragoons major who is Regimental Secretary of The Royal Dragoon Guards and who helps run York’s Army Museum, these light dragoons were essentially militia cavalry, who were used as mobile police.

Many towns across Yorkshire and the rest of the country would have had their own cavalry garrison. And they were used to police unrest - such as at the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester in 1819 when cavalry charged into a crowd of up to 80,000 who had gathered to demand parliamentary reform.“They were very much about maintaining internal security,” Mr Green told this newspaper a few years ago..

By 1847, the cavalry barracks were garrisoned by 10 officers and 210 men of the 5th Dragoon Guards. They continued to be occupied by cavalry regiments (including Hussars and Lancers as well as Dragoons) throughout the 1800s. In fact, cavalry were still stationed there until well after the First World War.

The infantry barracks that we know as Imphal Barracks date from 1877. They resulted from the Cardwell Reforms undertaken by Secretary of State for War Edward Cardwell between 1868 and 1874 with the support of Gladstone.

The British Empire was at its zenith and, to aid recruitment, the army decided to introduce localised units that would be able to recruit soldiers from local farms and villages, Mr Green told The Press.

As a result of the reforms, the War Department bought 35 acres of land on the south side of the cavalry barracks for the princely sum of £22,000, and the York infantry barracks were built. The 14th Regiment of Foot, which had been largely a southern unit, moved to York and was re-named the West Yorkshire Regiment.

During the Second World War, The West Yorkshire Regiment fought at the Battle of Imphal in north east India, where they were part of the Allied forces who drove the Japanese back into Burma - a turning point in the Burmese campaign. The barracks were renamed Imphal Barracks in the 1950s in honour of the part The West Yorkshire regiment had played.

Since then, the barracks have been variously the HQ of the Army's Northern Command; HQ of 15 (North East) Brigade - a ‘regional brigade’ responsible for training army reserve units and army cadets; and, now, HQ of the 1st (UK) Division.

The barracks are scheduled to close in 2031. But there's a lot of water to pass under the bridge between now and then, so who knows? After all, the planned sale of Strensall barracks in 2021 has just been delayed...

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy these photos...

Stephen Lewis