Romney Huts: Steel Structures with a Rich History

romney huts

During World War II, soldiers needed a sturdy, spacious, and easily assembled building that they could easily deploy. That’s what was in mind when the British military developed the Romney hut, a prefabricated steel structure that has stood the test of time. Learn more about the fascinating history of Romney huts, their construction, and how they compare to their American counterpart, the Quonset hut.

The Origins of Romney Huts

During World War II, the British military needed versatile buildings that could easily be transported and quickly assembled. They tasked the Royal Engineers and the British Army with creating a solution, and the Romney Hut was born. These huts were designed in the past to accommodate large stores and aircraft hangars, but their uses have expanded over time.

The Construction of Romney Huts

old steel hutsRomney huts are prefabricated steel structures, which means they are built off-site and assembled at their final location. This allows for quick assembly, an essential feature during wartime. Let’s dive deeper into the structural components of a typical Romney hut.

●      Slightly Corrugated Steel Sheeting

The exterior of a Romney hut is made of slightly corrugated steel sheeting, which is both lightweight and durable. The material acts as a protective barrier against harsh weather and works well in various environments.

●      Clamped Tubular Steel Frame

The backbone of the Romney hut is its clamped tubular steel frame. The interior frame is composed of steel tubes, which stabilize the structure’s foundation. The frame is designed to support the abnormal roof spans that characterize the hut, allowing for a spacious interior free of obstructions.

Unique Features of Romney Huts

quonset storage grain farmA few characteristics that set Romney huts apart from other prefabricated steel structures are that it includes a central entrance, snow-lying capabilities, and the ability to combine two or more Romney huts for added functionality.

●      Central Entrance

Unlike the Quonset hut, which often features end-wall entrances, the Romney hut has a central opening. This design makes the building more accessible with more efficient use of space.

●      Snow Lying Capabilities

One major design flaw of the Quonset hut is its inability to handle heavy snow loads, especially in areas prone to significant snowfall. On the other hand, the Romney hut can accommodate snow lying on its roof without buckling or collapsing, thanks to its unique shape and strong steel frame.

Comparing Romney Huts to Quonset Huts

While both Romney huts and Quonset huts are prefabricated steel structures developed during wartime, there are some main differences between the two. Let’s explore how these two huts compare.

●      The Iris Hut Connection

Both the iris hut, a World War I era British military structure, and the Quonset hut, an American military innovation, inspired the development of the prefabricated steel structure developed into the Romney hut. The Romney hut is considered a medium-scale hut that bridges the gap between the smaller iris huts and the larger Quonset huts.

●      Design Differences


quonset kit assemblyThe primary distinction between Romney sheds and Quonset huts lies in their design. Quonset huts have a distinct semi-circular shape, created by corrugated arches. Romney huts, meanwhile, have a more angular shape, with a pitched roof and a supporting interior frame. These design differences contribute to the varying functionalities and aesthetics of the two structures.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.    Can I combine two or more Romney huts?

Absolutely! Combining two or more Romney huts can create a larger, more versatile space. This modular approach allows you to expand or reconfigure your setup to accommodate facilities, equipment, or storage needs as they change over time.

2.    How do Romney huts handle snow loads?

As mentioned earlier, the unique design of Romney huts allows them to handle snow loads more effectively than Quonset huts. Their pitched roof and strong steel frame help prevent the build-up of e excessive snow, reducing the risk of structural damage or collapse.


military quonset homesThe Romney hut is a testament to the ingenuity of the British military during World War II, providing a versatile and easily assembled solution for a wide range of applications. Although the Quonset hut may be more familiar to American audiences, the Romney hut offers its own set of unique advantages, including better snow load management and the ability to combine multiple huts for increased functionality.

Whether you’re a history buff looking into the historical purposes of this fascinating steel building, a rural American male looking for an alternative to the Quonset Hut, or someone simply interested in versatile steel buildings, the Romney Hut is a fascinating piece of architectural history that demonstrates the power of innovation and adaptation.