1887 – Drill Hall

Ticket no 558 headed Dunfermline Volunteer Bazaar Prize House Drawin. Drawing of cottage with two front windows and a door, ground floor only. In the background is the forth rail bridge. Tickets 6d (pence) eac. The propoerty consists of a Cottage containing Two Rooms and Offices and about 25 1/2 Falls Scots measure of Garden Ground. It is situated on the River Forth within one mile of the ancient Castle of Rosyth and about three miles from the Forth Bridge, the largest suspension bridge in the world. The opresent owner's title to property id complete. TO BE DRAWN ON JANUARY 1st 1886
1893 Ordnance Survey Town Map, detail from Bruce Street showing Volunteer Drill Hall
1893 Town Map, Drill Hall detail. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Now used for Gymnastics, the Bruce Street Hall was built as a Drill Hall in 1887 and played an important role in Dunfermline’s safety until after the second World War when it stopped being used by military groups.

There were over 344 drill halls throughout Scotland, built or repurposed from 1860s until 1920s to recruit, train and host regular drills by units of volunteers in the art of weaponry and how to protect their town and nation.

Black and white image from 1887 shows street filled with large crowd looking at a raised stage with bunting. On the stage is group of circa 50 people looking towards street crowd. Large American flag of 6metres hung on left of stage.
Laying Memorial Stone 1887 Drill Hall. Fife Cultural Trust (Dunfermline Local Studies) on behalf of Fife Council

Dunfermline’s Drill Hall was based on designs by Andrew Scobie. It contained an armoury and recreational rooms, but the important part was the hall where the drills would take place. The hall itself was stated in the press as being 110ft long x 66ft wide x 38ft in height (or 33.5m x 20m x 11.5m in metric measurements).

Poster headed A Grand Military Bazaar will be held in St Margaret's Halls, Dunfermline on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 15th 16th and 17th October to raise funds for the erection of a drill hall for Dunfermline Volunteers suitable for Art Exhibition, Gymnasium, Tennis Court
Poster for Military Bazaar to raise funds for Drill Hall 1885. Fife Cultural Trust (Dunfermline Local Studies) on behalf of Fife Council

Funds to build drill halls were raised from local landowners, subscriptions from volunteer units, local donations or, as in Dunfermline, a mixture of all three. The cost was put at £2,000. We know there was strong community support for one of the units using it, the 1st Fifeshire Rifle Volunteers. In 1859 they charged Volunteers £2 in subscriptions and received £300 from local philanthropist James Kerr.

Fundraising was done through private subscriptions and £1,415 was raised from a Military Bazaar in October 1885. There was also a raffle where the prize was a … ‘cottage in Limekilns complete with garden’. The “Marine Villa” included views of the newly constructed Forth Bridge and a local paper promised the winner a 40,000% return in value for their sixpence entry ticket. It’s quite a prize and we’ve not yet been able to discover the winner. Do you know who it might have been?

Ticket no 558 headed Dunfermline Volunteer Bazaar Prize House Drawin. Drawing of cottage with two front windows and a door, ground floor only. In the background is the forth rail bridge. Tickets 6d (pence) eac. The propoerty consists of a Cottage containing Two Rooms and Offices and about 25 1/2 Falls Scots measure of Garden Ground. It is situated on the River Forth within one mile of the ancient Castle of Rosyth and about three miles from the Forth Bridge, the largest suspension bridge in the world. The opresent owner's title to property id complete. TO BE DRAWN ON JANUARY 1st 1886
Bazaar Raffle Ticket for a Cottage to raise funds for Drill Hall 1885. Fife Cultural Trust (Dunfermline Local Studies) on behalf of Fife Council

The Drill Hall was gutted by fire in 1975 and reopened in 1988 as a sports facility.

Black and white image dated 1906 in spacious hall. Group of 10 people in centre, well dressed mixture ladies, gentlement and a child with some looking at the camera. Three long tables from bottom of the picture up are covered in various plants and flowers. Caption on the image 'First children's flower show in Drill Hall, Bruce Street, March 17th, 1906.'
First Children’s Flower Show in Drill Hall, 1906.

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