Farewell to the Drill Hall …
IT is 50 years since fire deprived Penrith of one of its major social centres, the Drill Hall in Portland Place.
A water shortage hampered firemen when they were called out to fight the blaze. The mains supply had been cut off for the night because of the shortages caused by long freeze-up of that winter and firemen had to ferry water from the River Eamont until the supply could be turned back on again.
Firemen were alsohampered by the severe cold 19 degrees of frost were recorded during the night.
The fire caused extensive damage to the Drill Hall, which had served as Penrith’s social and recreational centre for 70 years, latterly staging hugely popular Saturday night dances, as well as hunt balls, marathon jives and beauty contests.
The end came in April, 1965, when the fire-damaged hall was knocked down to make way for a new block of offices.