The foundation stone was laid on 4 May 1899 by Field Marshal Lord Roberts of Kandahar and the building was opened in 1901.
Drill hall built 1899-1901 and designed by Captain W Cooper in a mock-Tudor/medieval style. C20 extensions. MATERIALS: yellow limestone, laid in random, snecked courses with ashlar dressings to the administration block and officer’s dining room; laid as bricks in a slightly random stretcher bond to the drill hall and rear ranges. Cement slate roofs with grey ridge tiles. PLAN: the administration block forms the principal elevation and fronts onto St Paul’s Street with the officer’s dining room to the right (S). The drill hall extends at right angles to the rear (E) alongside University Road (formerly Drill Street). At the E end of the hall is a link range and then a rear cross wing.
EXTERIOR: ADMINISTRATION BLOCK: The front (W) elevation is a symmetrical 2-storey, 5-bay administration block with a plinth running the full width of the building. The central bay steps slightly forward and has a crow-step gable that rises higher than the flanking bays. It has a tourelle (small turret) that rises from the N side of the first-floor and a castellated parapet to the S side, breaking the symmetry. To the centre is a carved stone plaque depicting the regimental coat of arms. At first floor level is a 6-light mullion and transom window deeply set in a splayed recess with a segmental relieving arch. Below is the main entrance in the form of a pair of timber gates set in a recessed basket arch gateway with mock drawbridge chain slots above. The upper segments of the gates form a mock portcullis, and the N gate panel has a wicket gate. The foundation stone is set in a recessed panel to the N of the gateway, it reads: THIS STONE WAS LAID / BY / FIELD-MARSHALL / LORD ROBERTS OF KANDAHAR / V.C., K.P., C.C.B., C.C.S.LI., C.C.I.E. / MAY 4TH 1899. The flanking bays are also gabled, embellished with false cruciform arrow loops. Below are 6-light mullion and transom windows to the first floor and 10-light mullion and transom windows inset beneath segmental relieving arches to the ground floor, all with leaded lights. The outer bays project slightly forward to give the appearance of square towers with castellated parapets and outer corner tourelles, with a pair of leaded transom windows to the ground-floor and a leaded transom and a mullion window to the first-floor. The roof is hipped and has a large tall ridge stack between the northern-most two bays and a smaller end stack to the S. The side (N) elevation has the appearance of forming a rectangular tower with a castellated parapet and tourelles to each corner, all projecting slightly forward of the side wall of the drill hall. The elevation is asymmetric with a single off-set 2-light transom window to the first floor and three to the ground floor.
OFFICERS' DINING ROOM: This is a single-storey, 3-bay extension to the S of the administration block that employs similar detailing except that it has a flat roof and plain parapet. The central bay is canted, but does not project beyond the lowest plinth course, and has a 8-light mullion and transom window. Flanking bays have single, narrow, 2-light transom windows. The S end is blind and has a broad, projecting chimney stack. DRILL HALL: This has a tall, single-storey 9-bay elevation to the N, supported by projecting buttresses with sloping, stepped coping slabs. The central bay is filled by a pair of timber gates, beneath a segmental arch with an arched window above. The three bays to either side have tall arched windows with ashlar quoined surrounds and cills, and uPVC glazing units. The bays at either end have a similar window, but with much higher cills, these lighting the galleries internally. The roof is hipped to the W, merging into that of the administration block, and has a gablet at the E end above the partly hipped roof of the link range. The roof has cast-iron rainwater goods attached to timber soffit boards, above projecting ashlar corbels. It has four large 4-light skylights to either side of the ridge, set about two thirds up the roof slopes, and two square timber ridge ventilators with pyramidal caps.
REAR RANGE AND LINK RANGE: The link range is a narrow 2-bays that forms a 2-storey lean-to to the drill hall, the abutting rear range forming a 2-storey, 7-bay cross wing with a gabled roof with unusual finials. Both are simply detailed with replaced window joinery that mainly appears to imitate the likely original glazing pattern. CARETAKER'S QUARTERS: This is of three storeys with a flat roof, abutting the E of the officers' dining room & S of the administration block. It is of utilitarian design, but has snecked stonework to its blind W elevation.
PARADE GROUND: Various C20 extensions, mainly flat roofed, extend from the S side of the drill hall into the parade ground.
INTERIOR: DRILL HALL: This has a timber boarded roof, supported by wide-span, semi-circular trusses formed of laminated and bolted timber, which rise up from the sprung timber floor. The walls are of exposed, fair-faced brickwork. At either end of the hall is a full width gallery supported by timber struts. The E gallery is accessed from the link range via a central archway infilled with a glazed screen. The W gallery is accessed via two sets of stairs from the hall floor and doorways from the administration block. The E gallery front forms a First World War memorial in the form of a 3-bay Ionic temple front, framing the regimental crest and battle honours. To either side are panels carrying the names of the Fallen. Further panels and memorials are attached to the E wall both above and below the gallery. The W gallery front features a smaller, simpler war memorial to the Second World War, also in the form of an Ionic temple front. Further memorials and other plaques are attached to the W wall of the gallery either side of a large painting of a First World War battle scene. Set above is a large painted panel of a Victorian Royal crest. Along the N side wall of the hall is a set of modern portacabins. Attached to the S side wall is a Roll of Honour for those who served in South Africa 1900-02. ADMINISTRATION BLOCK AND OFFICERS' DINING ROOM: This includes, on the ground floor, the drawing room of the officers’ mess which is entered via an internal panelled-timber porch and has a coved cornice, dark timber skirting boards, panelled doors, picture rails, trophy cabinets and an Arts and Crafts-style fireplace with rail, surmounted by a glazed trophy cabinet against the chimney breast in the S wall. Next to the fireplace is a door to the officers’ dining room, which is more simply finished with a cornice, three round ceiling roses, brass wall bracket lamps, shallow skirting boards and a parquet floor. To the S wall is an infilled fireplace with a plain, stepped, grey limestone fire surround with ogee moulding and a relief of the regiments crest. To the N wall is an oak plaque listing regimental battle honours.
LINK AND REAR RANGE: This is simply treated internally. It has a large basement room with a central row of plain cast-iron columns, this being accessed externally from the parade ground, and which is used as a gymnasium.