I was astounded to find a picture of part of the original interior in a newspaper from 1909. This is very early for newspaper photographs and the quality is remarkably good for an interior shot. It shows us just how much light there was in the hall as there aren’t the strong shadows associated with flash photography.
As ever, the copyright for anything I have found in the British Newspaper Archives belongs to both the British Library and the individual newspaper concerned, in this case the Devon and Exeter Gazette.
I have tried to bring out different details in the two versions seen above and below.
If it hadn’t been for the recent photographs of the Drill Hall interior given to me in Feb 2017 I would doubtless have passed over this picture without recognising that it was the Drill Hall. However, once you are familiar with the brickwork and the position of the doors then it becomes possible to see past the two-tone painting on the hammer-beam and know that it can be nowhere else.
Newspaper reports speak of the portraits hung on the Drill Hall walls as well as of the lovely glass panels which were in the doors. I am very excited to have been able to get this glimpse into how it would have looked.