Lincoln Drill Hall was built in 1890 on the site of Henry Newsum’s Steam Saw Mill. It was paid for by city industrialist Joseph Ruston who presented the building by Deed of Gift to the Mayor of Lincoln. It was opened on 24 May 1890 by The Right Honorary Edward Stanhope, Secretary of State for War and Member of Parliament for Horncastle.
For most of the first part of the 20th Century it was used as a military & police training hall, but was also available for entertainment and was used by Mr Ruston’s employees for regular dances. After the Second World War all kinds of events began to be staged in the Drill Hall from wrestling, to bingo, to live bands. The Rolling Stones played here on 31 December 1963, prior to their appearance on the very first Top of the Pops the next day!
By the late 1990s, the building had begun to fall into a state of disrepair and it was closed in 1999 due to the electrical systems being unsafe.
Five years and a £2.6m refurbishment later the building was effectively “turned round” and re-opened in 2004 as Lincoln Drill Hall, an arts & community venue, with a fully equipped flexible auditorium, a cafe bar and two smaller rooms all available for hire. The venue was run by City of Lincoln Council until September 2010 from when the management of the venue was handed over to Lincoln Arts Trust Ltd, an independent registered charity.
Lincoln Drill Hall now presents an all year round programme of jazz, theatre, literature, comedy, blues, dance, rock & pop, classical music, children’s events & workshops and also hosts a huge number of meetings & conferences.