Most of the drill halls in Cheshire were
connected to the Cheshire Regiment and Cheshire Yeomanry. The county town
and administrative centre was Chester.
Cheshire is a lowland county, edged by the south west Pennines and the Flintshire-Denbighshire
hills. It is separated by the River Mersey from Lancashire. Historically
it has always been a gateway through which communications by road, canals
and rail from mountainous areas of Wales and the Lake District can reach
the more fertile areas of the English Midlands. Much of the county is a
plain, with gentle hills, ancient woodlands and sharp sandstone ridges.
Cheshire has been famed for its cheese since Middle Ages, but the increasing
urban markets in the nineteenth century led to the expansion of dairy farming.
Thus, it was a predominantly rural, agricultural county, with many small
villages and a few small market towns in the centre and south. This is reflected
in the fact that in many places, local men would have trained in drill stations,
rather than drill halls.
Characteristically, many of the original Cheshire houses were half timbered
houses with black timber frames and white plaster walls. Some of the drill
halls are constructed from local sandstone which has a reddish colour and
Salt has been extracted in central Cheshire since Roman times. However,
the industrial and residential belt at the north edge of the county had
been growing in the 60 years prior to the Great War, while the rural population
remained stable. Cheshire industries included salt production and chemicals
in the centre (Northwich, Winsford and Middlewich), silk in Macclesfield,
soap, chemicals and leather in Runcorn, shipbuilding round Birkenhead, engineering
and textiles round Stockport and railway engineering in Crewe.
the first attempt at content
The Drill Hall Project - Charting a neglected legacy