West Street (Grounds of East Sandford House)

Surrey (Queen Mary’s Regiment) Yeomanry, (B Squadron)
‘5th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment)

Kelly, 1913, lists ‘Surrey (Queen Mary’s Regiment) Yeomanry, (B Squadron), 58 Denzil road.’

Kelly, 1913, records the ‘5th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment); head quarters [plus C & D Cos.], Haydon place.’

Guildford, the county town, was one of several Surrey towns in which a Rifle Company was established, later to become a Volunteer Battalion of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. When the Headquarters of the 2nd battalion moved to Guildford, it was imperative to build appropriate accommodation. A suitably portable building was found in Edinburgh and officers loaned £1000 while public subscriptions were sought to cover the whole cost of £2500, which included purchasing land, moving the building and re-erecting.

The building had formerly been part of the Edinburgh Exhibition. It was rebuilt in the grounds of East Sandford House, which became the residence for a Sergeant-Major and Drill Instructor. Additional provision included battalion offices, officers’ rooms and a club. The lease was 21 years and the battalion had the option to purchase after that.

The drill hall itself measured 120 feet by 52 feet 6 inches wide, with a height of 18 feet. It was constructed of corrugated iron and wood, with wooden block paving.

It was formally opened on 18th July, 1891, by Colonel Hercy, Commander of the 2nd Regimental District, in the presence of various Surrey officers, the Mayor and Mayoress of Guildford and other dignitaries. The band of the 3rd West Surrey Regiment accompanied the ceremony. According to a local source, “After inspecting the parade, Colonel Hercy paid tribute to the high standards of efficiency and zeal of the Battalion, and said he was confident that the town of Guildford would give help and support to the Volunteers. The Mayor said he believed the Corps was worthy of such a building and that he looked on it “as one of the bright corners of the district”.

Sources - Surrey Advertiser and County Times 1891.
Photograph not available
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The Drill Hall Project - Charting a neglected legacy