Bradford - West Riding

Drill Hall, Hallfield road
Valley parade
Belle Vue Barracks, Manningham lane

ds 'C' Squadron Yorkshire Hussars
2nd West Riding York Artillery Volunteers (W.D.R.A.)
HQ, 4 W Riding Battery, AC 2nd W Riding Brigade RFA
2nd West Riding Brigade Royal Field Artillery
HQ, A-H 6 West Yorks

Drill Hall, Hallfield road:
HQ, 4 W Riding Battery, AC 2nd W Riding Brigade RFA

The Post Office Directory, 1891, lists, ‘Second West R.York Artillery Volunteers (W.D.R.A.) Headquarters - 25, Hallfield road. Consisting of 4 Batteries of position, 16 40 pounder R.B.L. Guns on Travelling Siege Carriages, 2 Batteries at headquarters, 1 Battery at Heckmondwike, and 1 at Halifax.’

The drill hall on Hallfield road is clearly shown in 1893 OS map, with Eldon terrace to the rear. It was sold sometime [to be confirmed] between then and 1899, as it was too small for an artillery battery.

Valley Parade, Bradford:
According to The Times, Thursday May 4th, 1899: ‘Lord Roberts opened a bazaar yesterday at the Drill-hall, Valley-parade, Bradford, the object of which is to defray the cost of the building of new drill-halls at Bradford and Heckmondwike for the 2nd West Riding Volunteer Artillery, and to cover the loss sustained by the sale of the old drill-hall in Hallfield-road, Bradford. Some years ago the corps, which had been a garrison corps, was converted into a position artillery corps, and the increased floor space required made the old drill-halls entirely inadequate.’

We are making a tentative assumption that this drill hall is the new one referred to in the Times extract. The temporary move to Bradford Moor (below) may possibly explain the mention of a ‘new drill hall’. We have not been able to substantiate this and would be grateful for clarification.

Valley Parade is on the opposite side of Manningham lane (below).


Belle Vue Barracks, Manningham Lane, Bradford:
Headquarters, A-H 6 West Yorks

The Post Office Directory, 1891, lists, ‘Second V.B.P.W.O. West Yorks Regiment at Belle Vue, Manningham lane.’

The drill hall was founded in 1859 and the purpose built drill hall was completed in 1861. ‘The Volunteer barracks stand in the midst of a drill-ground of about 1˝ acre; were erected in 1861; and comprise a drill-room of 97 feet by 60, and several other spacious apartments.’ [John Marius Wilson, ‘Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)’, quoted on the Vision of Britian Through Time website.]

In the early years of the 20th century, the local football teams (Bradford and Manningham – who, according to some sources, apparently used the regiment’s colour of claret and gold) used changing facilities in the barracks. The building suffered a devastating fire on October 30th, 1979 and was nearly destroyed. It was replaced in 1983. The street name Drill Parade presumably reflects the area’s military history.

The Strategic Defence Review in 1998 proposed the closure of the Barracks, to local objections. The Lord Mayor at the time is quoted in the Craven Herald and Pioneer, saying, "The TA has a long history in Bradford, having been originally raised here in 1859 and its home at Belle Vue has stood on the same site since 1861. It represents a continuous and treasured period of service to Bradford of almost 140 years and we do not want to lose this close link.”

We have only been able to view this site from Drill Parade. From that position, we could see no remains of the original drill hall. We would be grateful for more information

Bradford Moor
Kelly, 1912, also records an artillery unit. The 2nd West Riding Brigade Royal Field Artillery used a temporary quarters and drill hall at Bradford Moor.
Photograph not available
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The Drill Hall Project - Charting a neglected legacy