BRV’s history dates back to the early 1880s. “BRV or the Bangalore Rifle Volunteers was formed as part of the Madras Army in 1884. Since they were stationed in Bengaluru, a canteen was built for them in the current building’s location,” said historian Suresh Moona, adding that the unit was later merged with Coorg and Mysore Rifles to become the 6th Bangalore, Coorg and Mysore Battalion.
The canteen was demolished in 1905. The present structure was built in its place, in 1912. It housed regimental offices, armoury, stores and recreational spaces like a reading room, billiards room and a bar.
One of the highlights in those times was the grand balls organised by the army for their families and by organisations like the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). In her book ‘Bangalore The Story of a City’, author Maya Jayapal explains how the teakwood floors were subjected to a ‘spit and polish’ routine for three days before the ball, and that the events had theme-based costumes. Some of the popular themes were ‘Fairyland’, ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Valentine Ball’. The parties would start only by 9.30 pm and go on till 2 am. It was only in 1959, Moona notes, that the building became Defense Services Cinema (DSC), movie hall.