Drill Hall, 12 Scales street
The Armoury, Nethergate street

‘2nd Volunteer Battalion Norfolk Regiment; F company, Armoury, Nethergate street.’ (Kelly, 1900)
5th Battalion Suffolk Regiment; (Detachment of B Co.)
6th (Cyclist) Battalion Suffolk Regt, (F Co.)
(Kelly, 1912)
ds 'D' Squadron Suffolk Hussars

Drill Hall, 12 Scales street
The Drill Hall was designed and built by John Doe, architect and builder of Bungay. He also built the adjacent houses, numbers 14 and 16, in the ‘Arts and Crafts’ style.

It is built of red brick, though the west and south elevations have been painted cream, with the original brickwork exposed on the other external walls. The chimney and chimney stack is visible to the exterior. The roof is slate.

From a structural point of view, the details of the tied roof structure are particularly interesting and unusual, because the substantial metal tie rods and central hangers are formed with generously proportioned hooks at their ends which are joined at mid-span by substantial rings connecting them at the joint positions. At the eaves and apex, the rods terminate at similar rings which in their turn are secured to the rafter by substantial hooks. The appearance and purity of detail is reminiscent of pre-industrial methods of working materials and may reflect the architect’s interest in the ‘Arts and Crafts’ movement.

The drill hall was entered by a door and porch to the left of the building, but subsequent alterations have added a large entrance facing the road. Originally the drill hall had a stage, which has largely been removed, though a small projecting floor at the rear of the hall is evidence of its existence. Beneath this, at the far end of the hall, are two doors leading to offices, which are apparently unaltered.

The drill hall is now used as a car body repairs workshop. I am very grateful to Bill, of Car and Commercial Bodyshop, for pointing out the building’s features and allowing me to look round and take photographs.

The Armoury, Nethergate street
This is now a private house. It is possible to see evidence of an original large, arched door onto Nethergate street.

Drill Hall - Detail at apex joint

Drill Hall - Detail at eaves joint

Drill Hall - Scales street Elevation

Drill Hall - Scales street Elevation

Drill Hall - Side Elevation - Original entrance

Drill Hall - Interior looking towards former stage

Drill Hall - Detail above original entrance

Drill Hall - General view of roof structure

Drill Hall - Detail at mid-span
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The Drill Hall Project - Charting a neglected legacy