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Public Hall, Bridge Street, Coldingham

A Category C Listed Building in Coldingham, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.8867 / 55°53'12"N

Longitude: -2.1567 / 2°9'24"W

OS Eastings: 390297

OS Northings: 665958

OS Grid: NT902659

Mapcode National: GBR F0CC.WM

Mapcode Global: WH9XW.V96K

Plus Code: 9C7VVRPV+M8

Entry Name: Public Hall, Bridge Street, Coldingham

Listing Name: Coldingham, Coldingham Public Hall

Listing Date: 26 January 2000

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 393934

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB46601

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Coldingham

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Parish: Coldingham

Traditional County: Berwickshire

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William Gray (Junior), 1872 with later additions and alterations. Single storey, rectangular-plan, gabled hall with later 4-bay entrance front to west and single storey additions at rear.

The west (entrance) elevation is a 3 bay gable with additional bay to right. It is built of coursed and tooled sandstone with ashlar dressings. There is a segmental-arched, stop-chamfered entrance with a 2-leaf boarded timber door and decorative iron hinges, a 2-pane, plate glass fanlight and plaque above inscribed 'Public Hall'. The entrance is flanked by narrow round-arched windows. A clock face is centred in the gable apex and a palmette finial at the gablehead. The timber doors have decorative iron hinges. There is a 2-pane plate glass fanlight and a plaque above inscribed 'Public Hall'. A single storey addition to the right has a round-arched window. A continuous hoodmould with moulded stops link all four openings.

The north elevation is and has stugged and droved sandstone dressings with chamfered quoins and cills. The gabled bay to the right has a bipartite window with a louvred roundel above and a palmette finial at the gablehead. Gablet dormerhead windows to the left have round-arched openings in the dividing bays.

The building has louvred ridge vents, stone-coped skews and gabletted skewputts. There is 6 and 8 pane glazing to timber sash and case windows, a grey slate roof and cast-iron rainwater goods.

The interior, seen in 2000, has a boarded timber floor, timber panelled doors, a balcony to the west end and a stage to the east end. The hammerbeam ceiling has decorative springers and carved pendants.

Statement of Interest

A well-detailed public and drill hall, particularly notable for its distinctively ecclesiastical character and prominently set in the centre of Coldingham. With its dressed stonework and round-arched openings, the entrance front may have been a later addition, although both its stylised, palmette finials and small blind opening echo details elsewhere.

The drill hall was built for the 1st Berwickshire Artillery Volunteers. The first sod of earth was cut for the foundations in February 1872 (Berwickshire News and General Advertiser, 27 February 1872) and the foundations stone was laid on the 2 July of that year by Captain Craig, who was in command of the volunteers at that time. An article in the Berwickshire News and General Advertiser of 9 July 1872, that records the laying of the foundation stone, notes that the hall was designed by the architect, William Gray (Junior) of Berwick on Tweed, and the hall was to be 60 feet by 25 feet, with an open timber roof and was to include an orderly room and armoury. The estimated cost of the hall was £400. This article noted that the hall was due to be completed later that year and a bazaar to raise funds for the building was to occur at the opening. Whilst no accounts of the opening have been found a bazaar to be held in the hall was organised for 15 November 1872 (Berwickshire News and General Advertiser, 12 November 1872).

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 344 drill halls are believed to have been 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 the Drill Halls Listing Review 2015-16.

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