Izmailovo (Nikolayevsky) Military Alms-House, architect Konstantin Ton, 1835 (administrative premises by the Front and Back Gate of the Tsar’s Courtyard in Izmailovo)

By the second half of the XVIII century the Tsar’s Courtyard in Izmailovo had become derelict. The situation changed in 1837 when Emperor Nicolas I made a decision to build on the island a military alms-house. The project was timed to the 25th anniversary of the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812.

Willing to retain the rectangular form of the XVII century square (caré) Konstantin Ton decided to build all the premises of the alms-house including the living premises of officials, arsenal, servant rooms, bathhouse, laundry, tinplating workshop, stable and ice-houses, within the old boundaries of the Tsar’s Courtyard replacing its abandoned and deconstructed buildings.

The north dwelling premises for the alms-house officials were built in 1839-1849 to the north of the Front Gate. The two-storeyed n-shaped building was intended for the officials of the alms-house, ex-servicemen of the Patriotic War of 1812. Inthe 1900s, the building was used as living premises of the Working Quarter named after Nikolay Bauman (Gorodok imeni Baumana), and in the 1980s, it was restored according to the project developed by the Rosrestavratsia (Russian Restoration organization).

The bath and the laundry were built next to the dwelling premises of the alms-house officials in the summer of 1850.

A drying room attached to the laundry was a technical innovation. A pneumatic oven invented by famous military engineerN. Amosovwas installed in the cellar of the laundry the entrance to which was made from the yard and has been preserved till our days. Amosov’s ovens became well-known in 1835 and later on the inventor was awarded54,000 acresof land for installing ovens of the same kind in theWinterPalacein Saint-Petersburg. The ovens could be stoked with firewood or anthracite; the hot steam coming from the chimney spread into the canals laid out in the brick and came outside through another chimney. In the Izmailovo drying room linen dried up in 2 hours and was pressed in the special ‘rolling’ room. Similar ovens were used for heating soldiers’ and officers’ premises as well as the Intercession Cathedral.

From the 1920s till the mid-1960s the drying room was used for its designated purpose by those who lived in the Working Quarter named after Nikolay Bauman; only part of it was turned into dwelling premises. During this period wooden ceilings were replaced with brick ones, metal beams were installed and wood floors were not once renovated. From the beginning of the 1960s the dwellers of the Working Quarter were resettled to new comfortable houses on the Park streets in Izmailovo. In 1970, the vacant part of the premises was leased. In the middle of the 1970s the Rosrestavratsia organization and the Spetsproektrestavratsia project institute were established on the base of the Restoration Workshop of the Ministry of Culture. The association occupied all the premises to the north of the Front Gate (and part of the drying room as well). There was an assembly hall in the building of the former laundry and drying room while other rooms served as administrative premises. In 2007, the building became part of the museum-reserve.

The one-storeyed rectangular brick northern ice-house was another alms-house building situated near the Front Gate. Two ice-houses on the territory of the Tsar’s Courtyard as well as a deep cellar to the east of the Intercession Cathedral were built for food storage. All the constructions have been preserved till our days. The ice-houses located symmetrically to each other in the north-western and south-western parts of the Tsar’s Courtyard were connected by a stone wall to two-storeyed outbuildings of the officials’ premises. Between the ice-houses and the outbuildings there was a closed household yard. The project of the two ice-houses was developed by Konstantin Ton in 1846, 4 years before the official opening of the Nikolayevsky alms-house. These are the only buildings of the alms-house that are located not along the perimeter of the Tsar’s Courtyard but at a 90o angle to the main building and that were not built on the site of deconstructed XVII century buildings of the Tsar’s Courtyard.

In the 1920s, the overhead part of the ice-house was used as dwelling premises and the cellar was buried.

At the southern part of the Front Gate there is a one-storeyed brick building known as the stable. This building was also used as dwelling premises the Working Quarter at the times of theSoviet Union.

At the Back Gate one can see the so-called Northern outbuilding as well as the Southern and Western premises. The latter were constructed in compliance with the general style of the Izmailovo estate in the 1980s on the site of ruined alms-house structures according to the project developed by the Spetsproektrestavratsia institute.

The one-storeyed rectangular brick Northern premises with a cellar were attached to the Western (Back) Gate from the north in 1850-54. Inthe 1980s, it was restored according to the project of the Spetsproektrestavratsia institute.

The smithy and tinplating workshop as well as the coach-house are other household structures located near the Back Gate. The smithy and tinplating workshop, the latter serving for metal tableware repairing, were built on the site of the XVII century ‘coal chamber’ and bakery. The one-storeyed brick building of the smithy and tinplating workshop was also reconstructed in the 1980s thanks to the project worked out by the Spetsproektrestavratsia institute.

As for the Coach-house that was identical in form and material it was reconstructed in the 1970-1980s on the site of a ruined XIX century construction.

 

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