Castle Cary

Former Infant School
Florida place
Park streetr

‘Prince Albert’s Somersetshire Light Infantry, 3rd Volunteer Battalion; F Co., Armoury, Florida place.’(Kelly, 1889)
‘4th Battalion Prince Albert’s (Somersetshire Light Infantry) (F Co.); drill hall.’ (Kelly, 1914)
ds 'C' Squadron North Somerset Yeomanry

From the Victoria County History:
‘Volunteer corps were raised locally in the late 18th and early 19th century. In 1794 Castle Cary provided the first troop of Somerset yeomanry whose cavalry kept order during local food riots in 1795. In 1797 c. 50 volunteers formed an infantry company. A volunteer rifle corps was founded in 1860 with a resident drill instructor and in 1908 it became part of the Territorial Army. In the 1890s they had their headquarters and armoury in the old infant school and in 1900 a building on John Donne's estate at Florida was used.

In 1913 a drill hall was built near the school by the War Office at a cost of £3,000. It was opened by Henry Hobhouse and his daughter Mrs Clay. Apart from the hall the building comprised rifle range, armoury and stores, canteen, recreation room, first-floor lecture room and officers' quarters, and a house for the staff sergeant. It was also used for dances in the early 20th century and in 1914 was the venue for a Bruton and Castle Cary musical festival. In 2001 it was used by the Territorial Army, Air Training Corps, and army cadets.’

[Mary Siraut, VCH Somerset: Online texts in progress. March 2007. We are grateful to Mary Siraut for permission to quote this extract.].

The Drill Hall on Park street still stands.

In The Times, July 24th 1912, there is an article headed ‘The Times Engineering Contract List’ which refers to Bruton – Somerset Territorial Association.- Drill hall, &c., at Castle Cary. (Part., £1 1s., A. J. Pictor.)
Photograph not available
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The Drill Hall Project - Charting a neglected legacy