Village Halls of 1949 & 1956

Just after the first war, Sir Ernest Cassel gave to the village land for recreational purposes and £250 for the purchase of an ex-army hut for use as the Village Hall.

Early in 1949, a Scout Group and the W.I. were formed and needing headquarters, the leaders made some enquiries and found that the Parish Council were responsible for the hall. By this time it was in poor condition, the roof leaked, there were many broken windows and no water or electricity. An approach was made to the late Chris Tweed, who at this time was chairman of the Parish Council, to see if something could be done in the way of repairs. He received the request with sympathy and promised to bring the matter up at the next PC Meeting, after which he contacted those interested and informed them they could use the hall, also that the council had a sum of £125, this money being rent obtained by letting the hall to the Dr Barnardo's Home during the war years. This money could be made available for repairs if a Hall Management Committee could be formed.

A Public meeting was arranged for November 21st, 1949. Dr Hood, the Rector, Mr C Tweed, Mr H Jennings were present to represent the Parish Council, also members of the other village organisations, a total of 38 persons. The meeting was chaired by Dr Hood with Mrs V Lofts as Secretary. The Chairman explained that the Parish Council were trustees of both the existing hall and a fund for a new hall, the latter was made up of £1400 from various sources and £1000 bequeathed to the village by Mr Dudley Joel of Moulton Paddocks, just after the Second World War. Meantime, the Parish Council were willing to advance the £125 already mentioned for repairs to the hut, i.e. to make it watertight, installing water and electricity, and decorating the interior, then hand it over to the Management Committee, if one could be formed. Also that a peppercorn rent of one shilling would have to be paid. The money spent on repairs would if possible have to be repaid to the council at a rate of £25 per year.

The meeting then proceeded to elect a committee, composed of one member from each of the six organisations represented and three villagers without an axe to grind. An offer from Mr C Tweed and Mr H Jennings to act as financial advisers was accepted.

The Village Halls

The committee met immediately after the public meeting and the following officers were elected.

Mr C Hart (Chairman), Mr Nichols (Treasurer), and Mrs V Lofts (Secretary)

By the end of the year 1949, the hut had been put in good order, chairs and tables had been purchased. A whist-drive was arranged for the opening night, the 6th January, 1950, at which Dr Hood officially handed the hut over to the Management Committee.

From this time the hut was a success, and was used by all organisations and made a profit each year and was able to repay the Parish Council loan.

At a meeting on the 8th of January 1952, the possibility of a new hall was first mentioned. For the next 21 months much work was done in planning the new hall and at a committee meeting on the 8th of September 1954, Mr Tweed announced that a grant from the Ministry of Education , of £855 had been offered and as soon as it was confirmed, the work of construction could begin. This grant made the total available £2575 and providing that some of the work could be done by voluntary labour, i.e. digging foundations and brick laying, should be enough to complete the hall.

By the 22nd of November 1954, the main structure of the main hall had been erected by the contractor and volunteers were called for, to start bricklaying, there was a good response.

The old hut committee had £252 in hand and voted to give £100 of this towards the new hall. At a meeting on the 21st of March 1955, Mr Tweed reported that progress on the new hall was proceeding well.

On the 8th of August 1955, preliminary plans were made for the opening of the new hall by the Hon Mrs Aitkin, on September the 24th.

On the 10th of October, the treasurer reported that he estimated that they had overspent by £160 on the new hall. Ways of reducing this were discussed. An envelope appeal was suggested and approved. The result of this appeal was £78. 13s. 9d., announced on the 22nd of February 1956.

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