East street

Royal East Kent (The Duke of Connaught’s Own) (Mounted Rifles) Yeomanry (B Squadron, Sittingbourne troop E, F & H Companies 4thBattalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) (E Company); head quarters

These references from Kelly 1913, which also gives different locations for F and H Companies.

Kelly 1891 shows ‘The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) 1st Volunteer Battalion, E Company head quarters, Town hall.’

Sittingbourne’s ‘Drill Hall, in East Street, erected in 1892 [according to Kelly 1913] is an edifice of brick, with stone dressings, and is used as the recruiting office of the district for the Regular Army and the Territorial Force, and is also licensed for theatrical performances, dancing, concerts, and will hold 500 persons.’

"4th Batt The Buffs" is still visible on the apex.

Records show that the building has been used by the community in the past. For example, according to the Sittingbourne District Directory for 1908/9, there was a Volunteer Club held in association with the Volunteer Battalion, (E Co, Ist VB, Buffs) in which a club room was open for reading and games. As with many other drill halls, the drill hall itself was available for dances and concerts on application to the Sergeant Instructor.

More unusually, the Ancient Order of Shepherds held Sanctuaries on the third Wednesday of each month; and the Juvenile Branch of the Ancient Order of Foresters, for members aged between six and seventeen, met at the Drill Hall with payments being requested on the second Monday of each month.

Now used as a church, there are plans (November 2006) to replace the frontage with a modern design. Whilst admirable in saving the building, it obliterates the remaining signs of its previous military use.

Front elevation

Rear & side elevations

Apex of right hand gable to front elevation. View detail

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The Drill Hall Project - Charting a neglected legacy