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Drill Hall, 1 Custom House Street, Ullapool

A Category C Listed Building in Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh, Highland

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Latitude: 57.8987 / 57°53'55"N

Longitude: -5.1591 / 5°9'32"W

OS Eastings: 212874

OS Northings: 894294

OS Grid: NH128942

Mapcode National: GBR F7MV.KLQ

Mapcode Global: WH18H.QQGN

Plus Code: 9C9PVRXR+F9

Entry Name: Drill Hall, 1 Custom House Street, Ullapool

Listing Name: Ullapool, 1, 2 Custom House Street, Drill Hall and House

Listing Date: 24 February 2004

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397409

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49788

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Lochbroom

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh

Parish: Lochbroom

Traditional County: Cromartyshire

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Drill hall and adjoining 2-storey villa-like house built circa 1887 for the Seaforth Highlanders, on the site of the Custom House.South facing Custom House Street elevations, stone-built; snecked to front, rubble or rendered elsewhere, ashlar detailing; arched openings; plate glass timber sash and case windows to hall, modern uPVC replacements to house. 3-bay south front to hall, central double door with flanking windows and central timber louvred opening above door; segmental-arched corrugated iron roof.

Door with 2 windows to long elevation on Ladysmith Street with north lean-to. Timber tongue and groove to some interior walls and to arched roof with thin metal tie beams. Attached 3-bay house of similar arrangement with central door (uPVC with timber effect finish) and flanking windows. Curvilinear gable to left bay; timber-corbelled oriel breaking eaves to right bay, both with finials. Pitched and piended slate roof, stone skews, prominent stacks. Rear single storey lean-to extension.

Statement of Interest

It is probable that Sir James Matheson (1796-1879), Lord Lieutenant of Ross-shire and MP for Ross and Cromarty and who was involved in the British Fisheries Society and purchased the village of Ullapool [J Gifford, Highlands and Islands p464 (1992)] was responsible for the Territorial Army here and had the drill hall built. The Customs House which stood on this site was demolished sometime after 1813 when the Customs staff were withdrawn from Ullapool.

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 their original use. Drill halls are an important part of our social and military history. They tell us much about the development of warfare and the history of defending our country. They also, unusually for a nationwide building programme, were not standardised and were often designed by local architects in a variety of styles and they also have a part to play in the history of our communities.

Statement of special interest and references (non-statutory information) revised in 2016 as part of the Drill Halls Listing Review 2015-16.

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