Drill Hall

Remembrance from Old Market

Tales from growing up in Old Market, and the second-hand account of a War Veteran & Drill Hall Warden.

Colonial Visit

New Zealand troops stationed at Salisbury Plain come to the Drill hall to give encouragement for those who are doing so much for the wounded soldiers.

American Independance Day

4th of July see's British soldiers entertaining American soldiers & sailors at Drill Hall, Old Market.

Beginning of the Drill Hall

In 1912 the sugar refinery in old market -- the last sugar refinery in Bristol, closed down. n 1915 numbers 62 - 67 were demolished and replaced by the The Drill Hall – the home of the Fourth Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. The sugar house in Old Market was the last one in the City to close down.

US Servicemen cause trouble

‘Several cases have occurred recently of altercations between American troops and members of the public and between coloured troops and seamen. Women are also alleged to have been accosted. It is pointed out that it is the duty of the police to maintain public order and decency in the streets and whilst these troops are not amenable to English law it does not follow that they cannot offend against our laws. If unseemly conduct is observed in such circumstances which do not justify the persons being arrested, such as producing knives or other offensive weapons, urinating in the public carriageway, and causing disturbances at dances and public meetings, steps must be taken to deal with the matter in the same way as the civilian population is dealt with. Names and addresses should be taken if possible of the parties concerned and any other information which may be useful to forward to the American Authorities in order that appropriate action can be taken. Police Officers must maintain their authority with tact and discretion, irrespective of the class of person with whom they have to deal.’

US Servicemen tension increases

Either officially or unofficially, pubs and other facilities such as fish and chip shops became segregated. The black GIs claimed that they were unfairly confined to barracks and were only allowed into the less salubrious parts of Bristol. The Spread Eagle in Narrow Plain, just off Old Market Street, was a haunt for black GIs. It is reported that white GIs would visit the area looking for a fight with their black counterparts. There are stories of fights spilling out into Old Market Street and East Street.

New life

in 2003 plans for the conversion of the now disused Drill Hall into residential accommodation. The Old Market Street elevation will be altered by the addition of another floor of flats within a mansard style roof with inset arch topped windows. And a set of buildings towards the rear are scheduled to be demolished, although the wall on the Jacob Street side will be saved

End of the Drill Hall?

The Drill hall has seen less and less use as the years go on, and as a result has fallen into a state of poor repair.

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