Well, I never knew that!
I have posted before about ‘The Drill Hall’, Bridge street, Wednesbury.
But there is something I didn’t know!
But before I reveal the “WELL, I NEVER KNEW THAT”, I must beat about the bush first and describe ‘The Drill Hall’ for those new Wednesbury folk amongst us.
(New to THOW the history of Wednesbury that is .. not new as in ‘Just been born’ )
The Drill Hall’s original occupants were 2nd Volunteer Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment.
The picture shows an interior plaque that was unveiled in the opening ceremony on 6th November, 1893.
Attended by the Earl of Dartmouth and assisted by the Mayor of Wednesbury, William Henry Lloyd JP.
The military personnel present included Lieutenant Colonel C. E . Smith and the officers of 2nd Volunteer Battalion.
The picture in our Album shows what a fine imposing building it was.
It was built in 1893 at a cost of £3,000, and is described in the Blackcountryman as being: 87 feet x 44 feet, with a gallery at one end and an armoury plus Officers’ and men’s quarters.
Also in Kelly’s old trade directory 1912, it mentions the Sergeant Instructor’s house.
We even know that Wood and Kendrick were the architects, and that good old R. Merton was the builder.
Now, here is something I have posted here & truly believed: That ‘The Drill Hall’ has been demolished.
Now this is the corker: It wasn’t ‘demolished’!
I know, you all think I’ve gone totally mad because the building was replaced by a new show room?
But did you know this.
The original Drill Hall frontage used to come right up to the street.
From the outside, people could not see the back of it, “The Hall”.
All people could remember was the two-storey frontage.
When this frontage was demolished and replaced by the new showroom, what you could then see was a whole building.
And no part of which you had seen before.
All you saw after the drill hall had gone was a modern frontage, a modern roof, car-parking space, suspended ceiling, flush-fitted fluorescent lighting and so on.
What you didn’t know was; That the main “hall” part of the building was retained.
But if you had took the time to really look around the Show room building …
(but why would you want to, after your beloved Hall had been demolished?) … but if you had…. there were clues!
Like the old bricks ….. The cars parked inside were on a very expensive parquet floor …. and you would have see the plaque. Just where it always used to be.
Not removed and replaced after the building was demolished, oh no, no, no!
It was in the place it had always hung.
Someone (I know not who) but a local man also stated that; when it was first ‘converted’ and used as a motorcycle showroom, the internal walls were still cream-painted brick and one of the internal doors had a “Sergeants” sign written above it.
So, my dear friends of Wednesbury ….
I never knew that! .. Did you?
You can find the information from here: http://www.drillhalls.org/Counties/Staffordshire/TownWednesbury.htm
Or even better, The Drill Halls project, which you can find here: http://www.drillhalls.org/