Work to extend Dromore’s century-old Orange Hall at Hillsborough Road has been described by leading Dromore Orangeman Drew Nelson as ‘turning over a new chapter.’
Approval was granted recently to demolish the existing rear of the Hillsborough Road premises and detached shed and construct a new two-storey extension to the rear of the existing building.
Work will include providing more car-park space and meeting rooms and is expected to take place as early as next Spring. There was just one letter of objection.
Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Mr Nelson said that the work would mean more community groups could use the hall. “We are looking forward to see this new chapter in the history of the hall,” he said. “We felt the need to extend the hall because there was that much demand for its use.”
Around 15 organisations use the hall on a regular basis from local church groups to the local order and a band.
“We had other requests from groups to use the hall but we simply could not fit them in,” he said. “This work will mean more meeting rooms and facilities for more groups.”
The current hall was built in 1913, when a site was granted at Hillsborough Road; it was given free of charge by the Vaughan Family who lived in Quilly House.
The Foundation Stone for the hall was laid on September 24, 1913 by Sir Edward Carson (though in fact the hall was already partly constructed).
On April 2, 1914 Dromore Orange Hall Committee met and offered the new hall as a Hospital or Convalescent Home in the event of an outbreak of hostilities arising out of the Home Rule question.
On April 13 that same year the hall was opened by Mr G H Vaughn of Quilly House.
Earlier this year the hall received £140,000 in grant aid from the Social Investment Fund.