The HUT - (Village Hall)
The First Village Hall
The Village Club (known as “The Hut”) was paid for by Sir William Lancaster. It opened on 18th May 1920. Until his death, Sir William paid for its upkeep and then it was conveyed to the Diocesan Board of Finance jointly with the parish church – on certain conditions.
It was mainly used by the East Winch and West Bilney Working Men’s Club, but once the costs of upkeep had to be met by the parish church, the club was expected to pay rent. It usually failed to do so. Consequently, the church couldn’t afford to keep it in good condition. It eventually burned down. The story goes that Reverend Gray was re-tarring the roof and, in heating the tar, he set light to the building. The insurance money was paid in 1935, when ensued a long, tortuous discussion whether to rebuild it. Rev. Gray was keen on the idea and felt hurt that the village showed very little interest. People who came to meetings made the excuse that Sir William’s conditions had been too restrictive.
The conditions were:
1) The building was not to be used for political purposes.
2) Unless Church of England, it couldn’t be used for religious purposes – the Methodists may have resented this.
3) No alcohol was to be brought on to the premises. This can’t have been a major problem, since the building was next to a pub!
4) Activities must end at midnight.
Rev. Gray argued that none of these conditions was onerous, and blamed the villagers for apathy. The argument was still ongoing when, in 1955, a committee was set up to raise funds for the building of the existing village hall in Station Road. A member of the church was invited to join the committee, but Rev. Gray was furious and vehemently refused.
“Prejudice apart, is there any sound reason why they (the conditions) should have been permitted to become the excuse for depriving the village for these many years of all the amenities and pleasures that could have been provided by a hall rebuilt on the old site?”
You can see the sense in what he says, but from the way he says it, I wonder whether the village had taken against their vicar and wanted nothing to do with a hall controlled by him.
At 'The Hut' - the old church hall that was the first Village Hall - burned down in 1938.
The ladies shown are - from left to right
Aunt Lou - ( who was Aunt Lou - does anyone have another name?)
Mrs Nellie Arter
Mrs Lydia Underwood - see also here
The new Village Hall in 1958 - note the old kitchen on the left hand side - before the flat roofed extension was built
The village hall in 2013 - showing the additional bar, porch and store added at various times since the initial build.
The story of the opening of the new Village hall is here: This will open a new page - In the 'Contents' box click on the 1950s.