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- Category: B
- Date Added: 09/10/1990
- Supplementary Information Updated: 26/05/2016
- Local Authority: Dundee
- Planning Authority: Dundee
- Burgh: Dundee
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NO 45928 31122
- Coordinates: 345928, 731122
This single storey, rectangular-plan, former volunteer drill hall building dates to circa 1870, with additions for a cinema in 1936 and later alterations. The symmetrical, 3-bay and gabled principal elevation to Church Street is ashlar sandstone with a channelled base course and a round-arched and keystoned doorpiece to the centre. Above is a large, partly-boarded circular window with a keystone hoodmould. There is a small rectangular window with a moulded surround at the gablehead. The gable head is bracketted with a corniced chimney stack at the apex. The outer bays have tall round-arched windows with chamfered reveals, and bracketted and moulded entablatures with panelled frieze. The roof is slated with ashlar coped skews and there are timber doors.
The interior was seen in 1990. The hall space has 6-bays expressed by pilasters with gilt Corinthian capitals, a Coombed ceiling with inset panel decoration, moulded beams with lion heads at bosses and a foliate cornice. There is a decorative musical instrument motif over the proscenium arch to the east with fruit and foliate motifs to either side, and a balcony to the west with diamond moulding detail and a coffered ceiling underneath. There are four Art-Deco ceiling lights and various metal wall light fittings.
Statement of Special Interest
This building has a complex history and is quite a remarkable survivor even in its current heavily modified form. The building appears in the Dundee Valuation Roll for 1875-76 as Hall at Seafield for the First Forfarshire Artillery Volunteers, who formed in 1860. The hall is referred to as the Broughty Ferry Volunteer Drill Hall in local newspaper articles between 1877, when an application for a theatre licence was granted (Dundee Evening Telegraph, 24 October 1877), and 1914 during which time it played host to concerts, plays, lectures, public meetings and flower shows while continuing in use as a drill hall for the Third (Broughty Ferry) Forfarshire Artillery Volunteers.
The Dundee Courrier of 18 March 1935 notes a plan by Dundee architects, Maclaren, Soutar and Salmond, to convert the drill hall into a 2000 seat cinema. The hall was adapted the following year by the Arbroath Cinema Company as The Regal with capacity for 712 patrons. This involved the creation of an entrance foyer (demolished in the 1990s) to the south of the building facing Queen Street. The main hall was altered to create a balcony and proscenium. Much of the interior decoration was kept intact, although two sets of pilasters to the west were partially removed to allow the fitting of the balcony. The Cinema Theatre Association website indicates that some of the interior decorative scheme was salvaged from Kaiser William II s yacht, The Homeric, which served as a cruise ship after the First World War. The former Rex Cinema in Argyle Street, Stonehouse, South Lanarkshire (LB 50140) also used fixtures and fittings from The Homeric in its interior decoration. The east end of the hall was blocked at this time for the creation of the stage and proscenium, with the circular window replaced by concentric wooden slats. The building was used as a bingo hall between 1978 and 1991 and subsequently as a car showroom.
In the late 1850s there was concern in the British Government about the Army s ability to defend both the home nation as well as the Empire. Britain s military defences were stretched and resources to defend Britain needed to be found. One solution was to create Volunteer Forces , a reserve of men who volunteered for part-time military training similar to that of the regular army and who could therefore help to defend Britain if the need arose.
In 1859 the Rifle Volunteer Corps was formed and the Volunteer Act of 1863 provided more regulation on how the volunteer forces were run and it set out the standards for drills and a requirement for annual inspections. Most purpose-built drill halls constructed at this time were paid for by a major local landowner, the subscriptions of volunteers, local fundraising efforts or a combination of all three. The Regulations of the Forces Act 1871 (known as the Cardwell Reforms after the Secretary of State for War, Edward Cardwell) gave forces the legal right to acquire land to build a drill hall and more purpose-built drill halls began to be constructed after this date. The largest period of drill hall construction, aided by government grants, took place between 1880 and 1910. The Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 (known as the Haldane Reforms after the Secretary of State for War, Richard Haldane) came into force in 1908 and the various Volunteer Units were consolidated to form the Territorial Force. The construction of drill halls largely ceased during the First World War and in 1920 the Territorial Force became the Territorial Army. In the 20th century changes in warfare and weaponry made many of the earlier drill halls redundant and subject to demolition or change to a new use.
Around 340 purpose-built drill halls were built in Scotland of which 182 are thought to survive today, although few remain in military use. Drill halls are part of our social and military history, telling us much about the development of warfare and the history of defending our country. Unusually for a nationwide building programme, designs were not standardised and local architects were often employed, using a variety of styles.
Listed building record (non-statutory information) revised as part of Cinemas Thematic Study 2007-08 and as part of the Drill Halls Listing Review 2015-16.
Canmore: http://canmore.org.uk/ CANMORE ID: 234404
Ordnance Survey (revised 1901, published 1902) Forfarshire 054.08 (includes: Dundee; Monifieth). 25 inches to the mile. 2nd Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.
Dundee Public Library. A History of the Volunteer Movement. Lamb Collection, Reference: 130(C).
Dundee Archive and Record Centre. Valuation Roll (1875-76).
Dundee Courrier (18 March 1935) p.3.
Dundee Directory (1936, 1960).
Dundee Evening Telegraph (24 Oct 1877) p.3.
Dundee Evening Telegraph (16 March 1977) Centenary Souvenir.
Historic Environment Scotland (2016) Scotland's Drill Halls Preliminary Report. Unpublished.
Cinema Treasures. Regal, Broughty Ferry at http://cinematreasures.org/photos/48790 [accessed 26/05/2016].
Cinema Theatre Association. Broughty Ferry at http://www.scottishcinemas.org.uk/scotland/broughtyferry.html [accessed 26/05/2016].
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