Ripon - West Riding

Somerset Row / Firby lane
Drill Hall, Park street

Yorkshire Hussars (Alexandra Princess of Wales’s Own) Yeomanry
C. Squadron No. 3 Troop

5th Battalion Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) H. Company
Head-quarters – Drill Hall, Park Street

According to The Theatres Trust website, the Georgian Theatre, Park street, Ripon, was built at the end of the eighteenth century. Eventually (some sources claim in 1826), it was converted into a military riding school. It became the drill hall of the Ripon Rifle Volunteers but when they moved to a purpose-built premises, the adjacent house and yard were converted to a bus depot, which was in use until the late 1990s. We understand that the bullding is extant.

On 2nd October, 1897, the Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement reported:
The Ripon Volunteers
‘Colonel Kearsley, V.D., commanding the 1st Volunteer Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, laid the memorial stone on Wednesday last of a new recreation room at the Ripon Volunteer Drill-hall. Amongst those present were the Marquis of Ripon, Hon.Colonel 1st Volunteer Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment who was accompanied by Lady Ripon.
‘The new building has been erected as a memorial of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and has cost altogether about £1400. Colonel Kearsley having laid the stone, the Marquis of Ripon congratulated Colonel Kearsley on the efforts made to improve the recreation of the Volunteers, and referred to the interest Lord Wolseley had taken in the Volunteers since he was appointed Commander in Chief. It had been the tendency of the Government from the first establishment of the force gradually to raise its efficiency, but he (Lord Ripon) had always felt that the value of a Volunteer force consisted very greatly, if not mainly in its numbers. If a body of Volunteers was not a large one, it was of comparatively little use. The force must be two hundred thousand or more, and it must be one which could be called upon in case of necessity. If the men could not turn out in real strength, their utility would be very greatly diminished. It was, therefore, important, not only that the efficiency, but the numbers, should be kept up.
‘Colonel Mangin on behalf of the officers presented Sergeant-Instructor S.J. Jones, who is retiring after two years service in the army, with a marble clock. On account of the heavy rain, a bicycle gymkhana was abandoned.’
(Information kindly supplied by Alan Longbottom)
We believe that this extract refers to the drill hall now known as the Hugh Ripley Hall.

The drill hall recorded on Somerset Row is extant as the Hugh Ripley Hall. It is used by the community.
Somerset Row Drill Hall, Ripon - General View
Somerset Row Drill Hall

Somerset Row Drill Hall, Ripon - Main Building
Somerset Row Drill Hall
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The Drill Hall Project - Charting a neglected legacy