North Laine History

The Church St Drill Hall

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Now looking a little sad with even the arms that adorned the doorway taken away, this building recently served as a local Royal Mail parcels office but was built as a drill hall in 1890 for the Brighton Corps of Volunteer Rifles. When complete the building was quite impressive, having a large drill hall as well as a canteen and messes for the various ranks.


 The site was acquired by the then commanding officer, Lt Col Tamplin of the family brewing business and hosted one of the most successful corps of rifle volunteers. He took charge in 1884 and under his leadership the Brighton Corps increased its complement to 724 men. The building when finished had a purpose built drill hall,a large canteen and plenty of messing facilities for  officers,  NCOS and men.

The newly opened Drill Hall was the scene in 1898 of one of Brighton’s grandest occasions when the Commanding Officer of the British Army, General Garnet Wolseley was received at the drill hall to give away prizes at the annual prize giving. He had came from a luncheon at the Royal Pavilion at which he was the first person to be awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Brighton.

When the Boer War broke out in 1899 the Brighton Corps contributed a number of men towards the Active Service Companies that served alongside the regulars of the Sussex Regiment

Above: General Sir Garnet Wolseley

Left: The Church St Drill Hill