Sarum Hill Drill hall and Armoury

1st South Western Mounted Brigade Ammunition Column, Hampshire Royal Horse Artillery
‘4th Battalion Hampshire Regiment (G Co.), Armoury & Drill hall, Sarum hill.’
'G' 9 Hampshire
ds 3rd Wessex Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps
Hampshire (Carabiniers) Yeomanry (B Squadron, Basingstoke Troop)
(All references Kelly, 1911)

Kelly, 1899, states that ‘The K Company of the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment, formed in 1875, has its armoury at the New Drill Hall on Sarum hill, opened in Jan. 1884: this is a structure of brick and corrugated iron, with a total depth of 100 feet and a frontage of 50 feet… Attached to the hall is a second hall, built in 1885. The whole was built at the expense of Lieut.-Col. May.’

Colonel May initiated the formation of the Basingstoke Corps of the Hampshire Volunteers in 1859. After a distinguished military career, he left the Militia in 1878. He returned to the Hampshire Volunteers and two years later was in command of the Basingstoke Company. Determined to ensure that the Company had proper premises, he endeavoured to provide a Drill Hall.

The Gazette of the 1st V.B.H.R. for October, 1897, says, "His excellent service and unbounded generosity will be still present with the K Company, for, as we have before pointed out, its splendid headquarters and drill hall are solely due to the gallant officer's liberality."

We understand that the drill hall was later known as the Pavilion, and eventually became the Plaza cinema.
Photograph not available
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The Drill Hall Project - Charting a neglected legacy