The Old Drill Hall on Rifle Street, St Mary's, Oldham with its distinctive castellated Gothic frontage, was the home of the local volunteer forces since 1897 and was used by the Territorial Army until 1998 and closed in 2002.
A sign on the former Oldham TA Centre exhorts:
DON'T WASTE YOUR SPARE TIME
THE REME OR RAOC (TAVR)
JOIN HERE - JOIN NOW
INTERESTING WORK CAMPS OVERSEAS GOOD PAY
The red-brick castellated front block with tower at each end and central gatehouse with a hall reputed to hold 1000 men was built for the 6th Volunteer Battalion Manchester Regiment (following the 1881 Cardwell reforms previously Lancashire Rifle Volunteers). The battalion became the 10th Manchesters following the Haldane reforms in 1908.
In 2007 Oldham council failed in a bid to list the building because of its architectural or historic interest. Later that year a developer was given the green light to demolish the hall and build 30 homes, but that permission expired.
The Oldham Detachment of the Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force who meet in a building adjacent to the old hall had wanted the hall to be used as multifunctional venue.
The Old Barracks building was engulfed in flames on 31st March 2011. The 48,000 square metre hall was being used at the time to store vast amounts of upholstery foam. Read the Manchester Evening News report.
For now its only use is as an anchor for mobile phone masts.
A contribution to