The beautiful Drill Hall at London Scottish House
The beautiful Drill Hall at London Scottish House

London Scottish House needs to raise £7million

Preserving the past to ensure a bright future is the aim for London Scottish House.

Steeped in history, the London Scottish Regiment has a distinguished record of operational service from South Africa in the 19th century to Afghanistan in the 21st Century.

London Scottish was founded by the London Scottish Rifle Volunteers in 1859 – but now, London Scottish House is in dire need of modernisation, and a £7million fundraising campaign is due to kick off soon.

Located in the heart of Westminster, London Scottish House has a basement with a decommissioned shooting range, armoury, magazine and various storage rooms, plus outside underground car parking for up to 10 cars with secure access.

The ground floor contains offices and the Drill Hall. The first floor has extensive office space, meeting rooms, the Queen Elizabeth Room, a large kitchen and access to the Drill Hall balconies containing the museum.

Finally, the second floor contains further office space, conference rooms and dining rooms, the library and access to the drill hall balconies containing museum items.

An original building dating back to 1886 including the existing drill hall was located at 59 Buckingham Gate and was opened by the then Duke of Cambridge. It cost about £23,000 to build with more than half of that raised among members and friends of the London Scottish Regiment.

Buckingham Gate was the site for many significant events in history, including the official inquiry into the Titanic disaster in 1912.

By 1930 the building was inadequate for purpose and by 1960 it was in such a state of disrepair with astronomical costs to renovate. By 1985 it was decided to sell the valuable site, demolish the building and rebuild in Horseferry Road. In fact the site of the new building had been part of the headquarters for the Australian Imperial Force from 1914 to 1918 and was a well documented mustering point for Australian and New Zealand forces (ANZACs) fighting in France and Palestine.

The beautiful Drill Hall at London Scottish House

The roof of the original Drill Hall at Buckingham Gate had been spot listed prior to demolition. As a result it was agreed that the Drill Hall should be dismantled, stored, renovated and re-erected as part of the new building.

In addition, the war memorials were moved, restored and re-erected into the new building. 95 Horseferry Road was finally opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on April 26th 1988. Thirty years later the building needs a complete refurbishment and modernisation.

Funding of £7 million (philanthropic and through a Bond issue) is sought to undertake this work, to celebrate the best of Scottish culture, heritage and military tradition, while providing business and hospitality facilities to its London community.

The freehold is owned by the London Scottish Headquarters Trust, one of two charitable trusts that have been guardians of the London Scottish Regiment’s identity,
assets, and people.

For the past 30 years, London Scottish House was occupied by a tenant who vacated the building in early 2018 and during that time little or no maintenance of the building has been undertaken.

As custodians this provides the Trustees with an opportunity to work with partners to refurbish this historic building for public benefit.

The renovation will maintain the building’s unique historic and architecturally significant features enabling people to work in, visit and learn about Scottish culture in London therefore reinforcing the strong historical union between Scotland and

Whilst the London Scottish community is no longer exclusively composed of those of Scottish nationality, the Trustees remain focused on promoting Scottish culture, heritage, society, and business for the benefit of all.

A refurbished LSH will provide a cultural and business hub for Scotland in London, and a focal point for showcasing the best of Scotland’s people and produce.

Plaques on the wall commemorating past London Scottish members

The four main themes to the refurbishment are:

• Museum Major expansion and upgrade of the museum, home to unique and in some cases priceless artefacts which date back more than one hundred and fifty years and represent the Regiment’s contribution to London’s social
and military history. It is one of only a few private collections to exist and is a very rare and dwindling example of a single regimental museum – (cost £2.3m)

• Drill Hall Renovation of the historic and architecturally significant Drill Hall dating back to 1886. One of the first of its kind to be built and one of a few to remain from this period – (cost £1.6m)

• Social Enterprise Hub Development of office, conference, event and exhibition space to enable small or start-up charities, community organisations, and small businesses the best opportunities to achieve success. This ‘Community Hub’ is part of the Trustee’s pledge to preserving important traditions and culture for future generations and their longstanding commitment to generating social impact – (cost £2.8m)

• Shooting range reinstatement and modernisation of the indoor shooting range, in keeping with the long-standing tradition of sport within the London Scottish (rugby, golf, and shooting) – (cost £260k)

A supporting business plan and revenue forecast for a 10 year period have been produced by an independent consultant.

This model includes the annual servicing of the Bond. The resulting projections indicate a viable commercial business generating surplus income for the Trusts to allow growth of the charity’s objectives.

Scottish Field will bring you details of the bond, and more of London Scottish’s proud history, in the coming weeks.