Unlocking Stourport's Past

The Drill Hall, Lion Hill

The Drill Hall, Lion Hill, Stourport on Severn
The foundation stone
The Foundation Stone plaque, relocated from the Drill Hall to under the archway at Villeneuve Mews, reads.

7th Worcester Regiment 'C' Company
Stourport. This DrilI Hall was erected in 1911
and opened on December 30th
by The Rt Hon The Earl of Dudley, GCMG, GCVO, PC

The land was leased by the Urban District Council for 99 years. Thomas Vale and Sons were the builders and Pritchard & Pritchard of Kidderminster were the architects. The cost of the building was £I,700.

On opening day the town was suitably decorated and large numbers of people were out to welcome the Earl of Dudley when he arrived from Witlev Court. Troops lined the streets, including the Earl’s own regiment,The Worcestershire Yeomanry 'C' Company. On arrival at the  Drill Hall. the Earl was met by a party of civil and military dignitaries, including Stanley Baldwin, MP. His lordship hoisted the Union Jack and declared the Hall open.

The Drill Hall 2002, to left with circular window & flag pole, pre-demolition post demolition 2004 Villeneuve Mews incorporating original house to right

During the First World War the Hall was the centre for the recruitment and initial training of many local men. At the end of the War, peace celebrations were organised on a grand scale and on 19th June 1919 a dinner was arranged at the Drill Hall for all returning service personnel.

In the 1920’s life quickly returned to normal. The legendary Ike Nunney and his family occupied the Sergeant-Instructor's house and the recruitment of local lads remained at a high level. The Hall also became the centre of many local events such as dances, boxing matches, flower shows, orchestral and choral concerts.

In the days of uneasy peace in the late 1930’s many young men joined the 'Terriers’, and on that fateful Sunday morning, 3rd September 1939, were called to the Colours. Once again, the Hall became a hive of activity with local men reporting for service. Following the desperate days after Dunkirk the Home Guard was formed and the Hall became the local headquarters for these part-time volunteers. In the evenings the Hall became the venue for dancing, with several service units supplying the bands. With the arrival of American forces at Burlish Camp things really took off with their bands playing music in the "Miller Manner".

At the end of World War lI the Hall again became the centre of many local activities but as leisure pursuits changed so did the fortunes of the Drill Hall. With the ending of National Service in 1960 the military services scaled down their use of the Hall. The Territorials and Army Cadet Force used the Hall but as the building was not in permanent use it gradually deteriorated. In 2002 it was sold to a housing developer on the understanding that the Sergeant-Instructor’s house would be incorporated into the new scheme so although the Drill Hall itself has gone we still have something to remind us of the joys and sorrows of Stourport's past.

The Drill hall has now been demolished and redeveloped as Villenuve Mews.

Though the Stourport Drill Hall was built in 1911 the town has a much longer volunteer tradition.
Look at the historic bugle with a Stourport connection

This page researched by Geoff NeaI, and illustrated by John Cook
This page last updated 28 November 2006

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