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Graeme Fisher

Drill halls

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mbriscoe

Former Fort William Drill Hall (probable location)
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NN 1020 7388
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In the early 1860s the Fort William Second / Lochaber, Inverness Highland Rifle Volunteers appeared to have drilled at the old Fort.
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In January 1869 a Drill Hall was rented, no reference has been found to the location and the 2nd Edition OS Map is a bit vague though it appears to be near the present West Highland Museum.  The building was 60ft long and 27ft broad and there is mention of an upper floor.
This building seems to be the correct size and there is nothing else in the area of that size.
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They moved to the later, purpose built Drill Hall in Mary Street in about August 1913.
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It has been suggested that the building at NN 10232 73878 was used as the Free Church at some point but not confirmed.

 

I can't upload the pictures here but there are on the link above.  Hoping to get some more closer to the building.

 

 

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GWF1967

a49f57d1-307d-44cb-a34e-89c579f7787a_zps

Lloyds Hotel, Llanidloes. Drill hall for D Squadron (Llandrindod Wells) Montgomeryshire Yeomanry.

IMG_6482_zpsuqs8oqt5.png

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mbriscoe
On 15/11/2016 at 00:20, mbriscoe said:

I have corrected now, my fault!  It is Grantown on Spey.

 

This suggests that they took over the Victoria Institute as Drill Hall after WWI.

 

There was a fire near the Public Hall at the end of February 1920, the report says the hall was only in danger but wondering if it was found later to be damaged or demolished with the damaged buildings?

 

 

Capture.JPG

 

 

Pictures of the Victoria Institute on FLICKR

 

 

5-JMB_28_11_2016_11_28_42_0001276601.JPG

3-JMB_28_11_2016_11_27_49_0001276401.JPG

Edited by mbriscoe

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mbriscoe

Got confirmation of the former drill hall in Grantown on Spey being the Strathspey Public Hall (as well as the Victoria Institute).

 

 

Capture.JPG

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mbriscoe

Trying to find confirmation of when the Mechanics' Institute in Ballachulish started to be used as a Drill Hall.  Interesting that there should be a couple of photographs of the 13th ARV in 1870 somewhere.

 

Quote

Inverness Courier - Thursday 23 March 1865
BALLACHULISH - CONCERT. — Mr Eyvel and the music class taught by him here during winter, gave public concert in our New Hall, on the evening of Friday, the 3d inst. Ballachulish can boast now of having the most spacious and suitable hall in the whole county of Argyll, for large and social meetings. This noble structure has recently been erected by Mr Tennant, the worthy and energetic proprietor of Ballachulish, for the mutual benefit and improvement of the working classes on the estate.

 

Glasgow Herald - Saturday 30 September 1865
Formal opening of Mechanics' Institute 21st September 1865

 

Oban Times, and Argyllshire Advertiser - Saturday 26 March 1870
13th Argyll Rifle Volunteers "paraded on their drill ground" then had ann hours march.  "Mr Hay took two views of them which he afterwards presented to the Mechanics' Institute".
This suggests they were using the building in 1870 and that there could be two photographs of them in 1870 somewhere.

Is this referring to the same hall?

 

Oban Times, and Argyllshire Advertiser - Saturday 10 June 1871
Volunteers. — We extract the following from paper posted the Drill Hall, and signed by Captain Cornwall. — “ 13th A. R. V., the oficer commanding has great pleasure in intimating to the members the corps that the capitation grant received from the War Office for last year amounts to £212 10s, this being made up as follows:— 131 efficients at £1 each, passed as 2d class iu shooting 10s each extra, and I officer and 7 sergeants who presented themselves at inspection, earning £2 10s each extra.”

 

Edited by mbriscoe

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mbriscoe

Kicked myself tonight!  After wondering about the original Fort William Drill Hall and being fairly certain that it was behind the museum and High Street, realised that the pub across the road is called the Volunteers' Arms!

 

 

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mbriscoe

Fairly confident that I have the Fort William Drill Hall identified so moved on to Oban.

 

Canmore and Always  Ready have the last Drill Hall as Drimvargie used from 1911 which seems to fit roughly with the Valuation Roll.

 

Canmore mentions the building on the OS Map between Breadalbane Street and Albany Lane / Nursery Lane, they think it is more likely to refer to the Argyllshire Gathering Hall on Breadalbane Street.  Always Ready says it was the Argyllshire Gathering Hall because it looks like a Drill Hall.

 

I am fairly sure that the building East of Breadalbane Street was the Drill Hall, it looks like one with a parade ground behind it.  Also a newspaper report of 1933 talks of lay out a piece of open ground in front of the Volunteer Hall and put a statue on it.  But the Valuation Roll has "Drill Hall Ruin" from around the time Drimvargie opened. 

 

It seems highly likely though that the Argyllshire Gathering Hall would have been used for some military purpose in WWI.

 

Not WWI but I have been looking at earlier reports to try and see when the Drill Hall near Breadalbane Street was built in the 1870s.  Before then there was a Militia Barracks going back into the 1850s.  The location on the Valuation Rolls is confusing but mainly gives George Street and seems to suggest it was the "Old Tannery", there is a Tannery shown on the 1st Edition OS below "U.P." on the 2nd map I have added though they give the address Black Lynn a couple of times and that is down further into Oban and in the 1850s there is a Militia Hospital in High Street.

 

Maps OS from NLS website

 

 

 

 

Capture.JPG

Capture1.JPG

Edited by mbriscoe

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CSMMo

mbriscoe, I checked with an old friend of mine who grew up in Oban in the 1930's on.  This is what he said:
"Regarding the Drill Hall which lay between Breadalbane street and Nursery Lane. The more that I have thought of this have come to realise that firstly you know Breadalbane Street because  I remember you stayed in a B/B on the right hand side of the road on which the Drill Hall space occupied.

When my parents took me from Tobermory on the island of Mull in 1938 we moved into Breadalbane house ( opposite the Argyllshire Hall) living there till 1942 and of course the vacant space directly opposite the Argyllshire Gathering Hall must have been taken up by the Drill Hall until it was knocked down in the late 19th Century.

In WW2 that space and building previously used as a storeroom owned by Munro’s Garage was occupied by the RAF and used as an engineering shop.

So that is very interesting indeed particularly as a child I played there with my friends getting up to all sorts of mischief.

The Argyllshire hall I remember was used by the RAF as a Drill Hall and gymnasium but had always been used by the public for dances and concerts in peacetime."
 

I hope that adds a little clarity.

Mike Morrison

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mbriscoe
11 minutes ago, CSMMo said:

mbriscoe, I checked with an old friend of mine who grew up in Oban in the 1930's on.  This is what he said:
"Regarding the Drill Hall which lay between Breadalbane street and Nursery Lane. The more that I have thought of this have come to realise that firstly you know Breadalbane Street because  I remember you stayed in a B/B on the right hand side of the road on which the Drill Hall space occupied.

 

When my parents took me from Tobermory on the island of Mull in 1938 we moved into Breadalbane house ( opposite the Argyllshire Hall) living there till 1942 and of course the vacant space directly opposite the Argyllshire Gathering Hall must have been taken up by the Drill Hall until it was knocked down in the late 19th Century.

 

In WW2 that space and building previously used as a storeroom owned by Munro’s Garage was occupied by the RAF and used as an engineering shop.

 

So that is very interesting indeed particularly as a child I played there with my friends getting up to all sorts of mischief.

 

The Argyllshire hall I remember was used by the RAF as a Drill Hall and gymnasium but had always been used by the public for dances and concerts in peacetime."
 

I hope that adds a little clarity.

Mike Morrison

 

 

Thanks, it was used as the Drill Hall until 1911 I think, when Druimfargie was built.

 

It is then described as Drill Hall ruin but there was a plan to lay out a garden or something with statue and that refers to the Volunteer Hall.  Perhaps the shell of the building remained for some years.

 

There is garage listed in some of the Valuation Rolls so that explains it.  I thought the Gathering Hall would be used by the military during both wars, any large hall was likely to be requisitioned.  I will sit down on Friday and try to collect all the information together.  I am bit puzzled by a couple of articles that say the Militia disbanded in 1813 but the Barracks still being referred to some years later though seems to have become a Tannery.  There is an article on the Militia in Oban in a Oban historical journal so will have trip down to see if they have in the library there.

 

You can see the Militia Barracks on the 1st Edition 25" map here , also the Drill Hall on the 2nd Edition 25" map.

 

I will add the details you sent to Canmore.  There was a Drill Hall in Tobermory also.  There were at least three "Divisions" of the Artillery Volunteers on Mull and quite a few others around Argyll, wondering in traces of their batteries survive?

 

 

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CSMMo

Mbriscoe,

I will check on the Tobermory information with my friend.

I can tell you that the Argyll & Bute Volunteer Artillery were spread throughout the western isles and remnants remain. On Bute, Battery Place and Battery House remain. Several ancestors were in that battery and in the band. I've been told that the old cannons were used in the pier to tie off boats (forgot the nautical nomenclature). There are concrete emplacements still in place on some of the islands as well.  The photo below is captioned.  I would like to know where that parade was held.  I believe the piper serving as right guide is my great great grandfather.

- Mike MorrisonA&BVA2.jpg

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mbriscoe
10 minutes ago, CSMMo said:

Mbriscoe,

I will check on the Tobermory information with my friend.

I can tell you that the Argyll & Bute Volunteer Artillery were spread throughout the western isles and remnants remain. On Bute, Battery Place and Battery House remain. Several ancestors were in that battery and in the band. I've been told that the old cannons were used in the pier to tie off boats (forgot the nautical nomenclature). There are concrete emplacements still in place on some of the islands as well.  The photo below is captioned.  I would like to know where that parade was held.  I believe the piper serving as right guide is my great great grandfather.

- Mike Morrison

 

I went to Oban to look at the article on the militia in the library but the library was closed on Tuesday so will get back down.

 

The hill above the town was known as Battery Hill at one time and one of the roads around it was called Battery Road.

 

I haven't done any more searching until I see what is in the article on the militia because there are several details and dates that not sure about so be easier with more information.

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CSMMo

mbriscoe,

Further from an old Obanite - 

"Yes! I do know about Battery Hill and Battery Terrace  underneath McCaig’s Tower is on that road which I think is called Ardconnel Road.

Reflecting further on the Drill Hall abutting Nursery Lane Oban I have given quite a lot of thought to this and I now can remember very clearly in 1939/40 playing with other kids on what must have been the base of the Drill hall and the base was next to the large empty space part of which must have been the parade ground."

I hope this is helpful.  He plans to walk the area on his next visit.  You have stimulated his interest.

 

Mike Morrison

 

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mbriscoe

That fits with the Valuation Rolls which have it described as "Drill Hall ruin" for many years.

 

Still trying to get hold of the two articles in Historic Argyll on the history of the militia and A & B Mountain Battery but Oban Library do not have that issue from 2006.  It was a useful trip though because I noticed another little booklet which suggests that there was some sort of "bunker" under the Episcopal Cathedral in WWII.

 

 

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Pope1777

Nice to see the Drill Hall at Bude, Cornwall in which H Company, 5th Btn. Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry used is already present on this site.

 

My Great Grandfather was Captain of this company in 1914, before being stationed in India for the duration with the 2/4th Btn. DCLI.

 

 

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Dragon

We have talked about the future of the Drill halls site and we're planning to revive it. I am thinking of a new look - after all, my spouse and I built the site over ten years ago now and I think that a database driven site might be good if our version of Dreamweaver can support it - and Graeme is experimenting with text in a format which is a little bit different.

 

It won't be instant but the thinking is happening.

 

Just for interest, the Drill Halls website had 10450+ unique visitors in 2016. This figure does not include bots. There will actually have been more because for some reason stats were not recorded in March and April. Unsurprisingly there were more visits in November. The site had more visitors in 2015 and 2014, when it was being actively worked on and promoted.

 

Unique visitors means each individual visitor from an IP; their subsequent visits are not recorded as unique (obviously). If return visits are recorded, the visitor figure is 16008 with the same proviso about March and April. I think it's positive that people look at several pages and return later.

 

Gwyn

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Dragon

The brochure doesn't say anything about redevelopment, which is promising. It seems to be available as business premises or a meeting hall.

 

(Hi Jim - I was only thinking the other day that I hadn't seen you around for a while. Nice to see you!)

 

Gwyn

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John_Hartley
6 minutes ago, Dragon said:

Hi Jim - I was only thinking the other day that I hadn't seen you around for a while. Nice to see you!)

Funnily enough, so was I. Similar greetings, mate.

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Jim Clay
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Dragon said:

The brochure doesn't say anything about redevelopment, which is promising. It seems to be available as business premises or a meeting hall.

 

(Hi Jim - I was only thinking the other day that I hadn't seen you around for a while. Nice to see you!)

 

Gwyn

Hi Gwyn, nice to speak again!  I've been discussing the drill hall with some folks on the Knighton facebook site - it is suggested that the drill hall will be removed and rebuilt in a museum (apparently that's what the ACF were told when they were given notice to leave) - a likely story!  Sadly, it looks as though the site will be cleared for redevelopment, though that is far from definite at the mo.

 

Jim

Edited by Jim Clay

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Jim Clay
1 hour ago, John_Hartley said:

Funnily enough, so was I. Similar greetings, mate.

Wotcher, Mr H.  Haven't been active here for a while, and not entranced by the latest version of invision.   I may yet do an Arnie Schwarzenegger ... :rolleyes:

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