I spotted this sign on a sunny spring day in Cheadle, Stockport. Somehow, dreary drill halls have always loitered unnoticed in the background. This sign, with its rusty streaks and black and white functionalism, prompted me to find out more. And, wonderfully, there is someone who cares. The Drill Halls Project at http://www.drillhalls.org/ is recording these fading little bits of our community history before they disappear.
Drill halls have been with us since the 1860s, often built by volunteers and funded by public subscription or benefactors. Although intended for military training, drill halls have been the backdrop of many a community gathering, from fetes and dancing to weight-loss clubs and birthday parties.
These days, old drill halls are at risk of being demolished to make way for development. Happily, the Cheadle drill hall, built in 1904, is now the Village Hall.