Former Castle Leather Works

ds 'D' Squadron Montgomeryshire Yeomanry

A building was erected on the site in about 1830 as The Castle Leather Works when a weir was built across the nearby River Wye to take water along a leat to drive the machinery. At that time it was a three storey stone building as shown in the photograph. In 1906 the building was purchased for £1650 by Mr. Edward Pryce Morgan, who let the second floor for the use of the militia. When the building was destroyed by fire in December 1911 Edward Morgan worked as his own contractor and had the building rebuilt as it is now.

In October 1913 Edward Morgan installed a cinematograph plant in the building which continued to show films until the advent of television. The Cinema’s opening performance, on 13th November 1913, showed ‘Kings of the Forest’ and by 1941 the building was known as The Castle Cinema (as shown in the photograph of the 1957 poster). In 1924 an up to date shooting range was also installed in the building, which by then was known as “The Drill Hall”.

After the building was used as a cinema it was occupied by Compact Orbital Gears, who moved to the local industrial estate when they outgrew the premises. In 1980 the building became a supermarket and with a change of ownership in 1996 it started selling under the MACE brand.

The picture shows the drill hall as it is now (2006).

We are very grateful to Bryan Lawrence for the historical account and to Maggie Tyler for her information and photograph.

Archive illustration of the building in its heyday.

The Drill Hall in 2006.

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The Drill Hall Project - Charting a neglected legacy