Spilsby Historic Market Town in Lincolnshire

Spilsby Franklin Hall History


Spilsby Franklin hall, which was originally known as the Drill Hall, was built in 1899 for the 7th Spilsby Rifle Volunteer Corps. This organisation had been formed in 1860. The building had housing for Sergeant instructors and had a long rifle range annex down the west side of the building. The main hall was similar to that of today. In the early 1900s the army nationally replaced the Rifle Volunteer Corps with the Territorial Army Battalions and in 1912 “C” company of the 5th Territorial Battallion of Lincolnshire was based in the Drill hall. From here it was mobilised when WW1 was declared in 1914. During the great war Spilsby Drill hall was used as a Red Cross hospital, manned by volunteer nurses caring for wounded soldiers.

Following the Armistice of 1918 the Lincolnshire Regiment resumed it’s occupancy of the Drill hall which continued up to and throughout WW2 1939 to 1945. During WW2 the bulk of Territorial personnel were on active service elsewhere and the Drill hall was used for local dances and other events for the benefit of locals and members of the armed forces, in particular the 2000+ personnel serving at RAF Spilsby which operated from 1943. After the end of WW2 the Territorial army continued its occupancy of the Drill hall until the early 1960’s.

On 20th February 1964 the Drill hall was sold by the County of Lincoln Territorial and Auxilliary Forces Association to a board of Trustees headed by Dr. Charles Edward Friskney (Spilsby GP) and Ronald Henry Beacock (Grammar School headmaster I believe) for the sum of £4250.00. This was purchased by them on behalf of the Spilsby and District community for the use of the inhabitants of Spilsby and neighbourhood without distinction of sex or of political, religious or other opinions and for use in particular for meetings, lectures, classes and other forms of recreation and leisure time occupancy with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants. The Hall now became known as the New Town Hall and became a Charitable trust.

The New Town Hall became a very popular venue for many functions mainly due to its large size, however, by the mid 1990s it became obvious that major refurbishment was required maintain the building and bring it up to modern standards to accommodate a range of different user groups. When a submission to the Rural Challenge was made in 1997 the managements committee’s preferred option was to demolish the building and contruct a new purpose built hall. The estimated cost was approx £1.2 million. This lead the committee to explore other alternatives and upon the advice of structural engineers they opted for a comprehensive redevelopment. Planning permission was obtained in September 1999 after a plan was agreed for a well equipped hall with 40% more floor area than before. Many man hours of effort were rewarded by a grant of £222,000 from community funding, £175,000 from East Midlands development agency, and LCC/ELDC of £33,000 plus other funding from groups including Spilsby Town Council, Waste recycling agency, Spilsby and District Public hall and Playing field management committee, private donations and fundraising. Completion of the refurbishment was on 9th March 2001 and was back in use within 3 days. The hall became known as Spilsby Franklin hall (in honour of Sir John Franklin) and was declared officially open by Miss T M Maddison of Partney ( a descendant of Sir John Franklin). East Lindsey District Council moved its area office into the building, all previous user groups returned and new user groups moved in.

Available for hire are: Main hall with a capacity for 300 people; conference room with a capacity for 50 people, a well equipped kitchen and a bar with seating area. Typical uses are for sports, educational , leisure groups, business training, dances and parties, weddings, blood donor sessions and local and district elections to name a few. In the last Town plan for Spilsby the Franklin hall was rated by 77.46% of responders as being very important to the area. The Franklin hall also currently sub let areas of the hall to ELDC who open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, to Spilsby Town Council (office and council chamber) and to Totschool (a pre school for under 5 year olds).

In recent years we have tried to maintain the building and contents within the constrains of funding by replenishing the main hall flooring (£6000), New/replacement windows as necessary (£25000), new central heating boiler (£5500), new lighting in the main hall (£15000), replacement kitchen cupboards (£2600), replaced 50 chairs (£1050) and 10 new tables and storage trolley (£1500). Larger grants have been obtained through Lindsey Action Zone, ELDC, LCC, WREN recyling. Local groups and organistions have responded very supportively towards funding also which has been very gratefully received and put to valuable use.

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