Forest Town Drill Hall/Kingsway Hall 1909 -2009

THE DRILL HALL

Kingsway Hall in Forest Town is still known to many local people by its original name of the Drill Hall. It was on Saturday May 15th 1909 that the Drill Hall was officially opened. The occasion was one of pomp and splendour with the Mansfield and Cresswell Boys Brigade lining the route. The Attorney General on National Defence, Sir William Robson performed the opening ceremony and many colliery officials and civic dignitaries were also there. The Mansfield Colliery Band played musical entertainment, and a group of four singers who included Morgan Kingston, sang popular music of the day.

Throughout the first half of the 20th Century the Drill Hall was where the Mansfield Colliery Boys and Girls Brigades met for their various activities. Other groups are also believed to have used the hall. Additionally it was used for many community events, such as concerts, dances, bazaars, and plays by the local drama group or school.

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At some time in the 1940’s it was used to supply dinners to children from Forest Town School, dinners were served in two upstairs rooms. In the 1960’s it was used as a temporary club while the Old Mansfield Welfare was being demolished and the new one built.

KINGSWAY HALL

Just when the Drill Hall became Kingsway Hall is also unknown.

Renovations

At a date unknown the building fell into disrepair and was eventually saved by enthusiastic people and grants. First the outside was completely renovated, and then grants were obtained to restore the inside.

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Official Opening

The refurbished building was officially opened on 11th October 1997.

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Activities

Since then the building has been used for elderly peoples groups, after school clubs, youth activities, educational facilities, school plays, concerts, private functions. It is also the venue for church services for Calvary Chapel.

While the name of the building may have changed, and there have been some alterations, it still bears traces of its early history.  The emblem of the Bolsover Colliery Company can be seen high in the wall over the main entrance, and inside, in an upstairs room the badge of the Boys Brigade is over a wonderful old fireplace. As this building with such a wide variety of activities celebrates 100 years of history, and for the first time was used as the local Polling Station  it will generate a whole flood-bank of memories, we look forward to hearing some of them.

Drill Hall opened in 1909
P Marples Collection
Opening of the Drill Hall May 1909,with the Boyd Brigade looking very smart
P Marples Collection
Balcony over main door where some people recall there was once a cannon
P Marples Collection
Mens Group, note the painted backcloth
P Marples Collection
The Hall prepared for a special event
P Marples Collection
Mansfield Colliery Band in front of the Drill Hall
Manfield Museum 92-158
Presentation to Cllr A M Higginbotham - British Legion Event
P Marples Collection
St John Ambulance Brigade, at the side of the Drill Hall
P Marples Collection
Forest Town School play at the Drill Hall 1956
P Marples Collection
Forest Town School Play at the Drill Hall - date unknown
P Marples Collection
Girls Brigade Concert 1921
P Marples Collection
Kingsway Hall Renovations 1994
P Marples
Kingsway Hall renovations and clock being installed 1994
P Marples
The Front entrance renovations 1994
P Marples
Opening of Kingsway Hall 11 October 1997
P Marples
Opening of Kingsway Hall 11 October 1997
P Marples
Easter event with the Monday & Thursday Club
P Marples
Kids Club & Pearl - February 2000
P Marples
Line Dancing at the Monday or Thursday Club
P Marples
Monday & Thursday Club event 13 April 2000
P Marples
Launching the Forest Town Crier Community Newspaper 17 June 1999
P Marples
Production of Oliver by Forest Town Primary School April 2000
P Marples
Concert with Mansfield Male Voice Choir December 2005
P Marples
Kingsway Hall flying the new flag 2006
P Marples
Sunday 7th June 2009 Calvary Chapel at Kingsway Hall
P Marples
4 June 1909 Kingsway Hall used as Polling Station
P Marples
The Plaque that is still over the main entrance in 2009
P Marples
'Midsummer Nights Dream' Mr Rudge Headmaster of Forest Town School is on the right
P Marples Collection

Comments about this page

  • I took part in a war weapons day parade and Richard Dimbleby and J.T.Rice were present at the Drill Hall.

    By ARTHUR WRIGHT (02/10/2010)

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