The project was started in an attempt to record the Drill Halls of the Territorial Army in the period 1908 - 1914.
With a few notable exceptions, these buildings are unremarkable, functional and ignored by history. Yet they were an important part of our military and social heritage. They provided a base for the Territorials to meet and train, and a practical space for fêtes and dances for the local community.
As time has passed, the Territorials have moved on and the generations
who danced there are fading away.
The project aims to record the drill halls before they are lost to redevelopment.
The Drill Hall Project encompasses an extensive database of several thousand locations, compiled by Graeme Fisher
. Research is an ongoing pleasure and new and interesting information is constantly coming to light as we explore this under-investigated and under-recorded subject.
However, the task is huge and the centralised historical records are sparse and often misleading. Key pieces of information have often been located in the archives of local newspapers, the records held by building owners, local libraries, on-line resources, and other sources typically used by local historians. The project, although national in compass, essentially comprises several thousand local investigations of limited scope.
We decided that it was important that the information gathered to date should be shared as soon as possible, while the website is under development and so much of our material has yet to be uploaded. We have a rolling programme of uploading and it is intended that new material will be added on a fortnightly basis, so that the first level information in the database should all be online before the end of 2008. Given the limitations of time and the vast size of the database, we have decided to focus first on England and Wales. We have not overlooked Scotland and we intend to load material on Scotland later in 2008.
Therefore, we urge you to keep coming back to see what is new! There is a vast amount of important and intriguing material still to come.
Equally important, we recognise the limits of our own resources and the dispersed nature of the data on this subject. Therefore we hope that the website will also function as a collaborative research tool and we welcome evidence-based contributions that can augment and be added to the body of knowledge on the website about this diverse and overlooked category of buildings.
You can follow our day to day progress and breaking news about Drill Halls via our Twitter feed
, If you wish to be notified when a particular area has been uploaded,
then please let
. Similarly, if you have questions about a particular area
or town which is not yet 'live', please contact
It is not within the scope of the Drill Hall Project to elaborate on the structure of the British Army or the progress of the Great War. We suggest 'The Long Long Trail: The British Army in the Great War of 1914 - 1918' as an excellent starting point for this sort of information. Visit it at http://www.1914-1918.net
The text in the database has been faithful to the contemporary spellings of place names used in the original sources. In some cases this may depart from the modern spelling and usage (eg Carnarvon, Conway).
At the end of the 19th century, words such as 'street' and 'road' within addresses were often not capitalised. The Project has adopted this practice for historical consistency. (See, for example, all listings in Kelly's Directories.)
As a work of research within an historical framework, the database places towns within the counties in use at the time.