WRABNESS VLLAGE HALL
History of old and new Halls (1922-
After the Great War, the idea was floated for building a Village Hall as a tribute to those local men who had served, and in some cases given their lives, at that time. Shares were sold to raise the necessary cash and, when the money had been raised, an ex-
Miss Nora Garnham, whose grandfather donated the land and who was present at the opening ceremony, remembered that people using the Hut (as it was called) in its early days had to bring washing-
In the 1960s an extension was built on the South end to contain a Committee Room and two toilets. For many years sanitation was into Elsan closets but in the 1970s a cesspool was sunk using a large concrete pipe section and this was in use until the old Hall was demolished. By this time the Hall was used regularly by Village clubs as well as by a weekly baby clinic and library. It was also used for single functions such as stage shows, dances, exhibition, etc.
Facing the future
By the late 1970s it was realised that wood decay was taking its toll and that the old building would have to be replaced sooner or later and that this matter should be seriously addressed before the old Hall became unusable. As agreement by the Village to rebuild was necessary, a public meeting was called in July 1979 at which a proposal to rebuild was enthusiastically supported. It was felt early on that the most suitable site would be adjacent to the old building on land belonging to the Macaulay family and, although it was intended to buy this if available, it was confirmed soon afterwards that the land would be given to the Village for this purpose.
This was only the first piece of good fortune that came to the project and it enabled the Committee to start planning immediately with a firm end in view. At that time it was estimated that a new building would cost about £30,000 if volunteers could do much of the work, or rather more if labour charges had to be included, but it was hoped that a worthwhile grant could be obtained from the Local Authority (perhaps up to 50%). Nevertheless any grant would have to be matched pound for pound by local fund raising and, at that time, it was thought that £1,500 per annum was the maximum likely to be raised in our small village.
Following the Village meeting a New Village Hall Sub-
Meanwhile the main Committee were planning to collect as much money as possible from donations, social events, etc. Many proposals were discussed and tried and all are reported in one or other of the scrapbooks, which were compiled by Evelyn Garnham and are filed in the Village Hall library. On occasions we were able to negotiate for the loan, at no cost, of empty shop premises In Dovercourt in which to sell donated objects of all kinds and several successful Charity Shops were run in this way. The Treasurer also received gifts from many sources, frequently anonymously. A popular fund-
The Committee also organised a Car Treasurer Hunt and an Open Gardens Day and there was also a sponsored "slim-
Our Treasurer was able to search around to obtain the best rates of interest available in the market for our increasing capital and, in the early 1980s, interest rates as high as 15.25% could be obtained, interest free for a charity. This helped considerably to increase the value of our savings.
A preliminary application for a capital grant was made immediately after the first Village meeting in 1979 arid correspondence was maintained with Essex County Council throughout to keep the application "alive". We did not, however, have sufficient funds to be able to ask for the item to be included in the Council's 1982/83 programs nor in that for the following year.
By September 1983, with savings then up to about £23,000, and rising rapidly, we were advised to submit a further application for the scheme to be Included in the 1984/85 programs and this was done with a target cost of £60,000. As funds were coming in more quickly than had been expected, thoughts turned as to how the grant (when made) could best be spent to achieve what we wanted. To see the project through to completion, the sub-
An important point to decide at this time was the type of construction preferred and the method of building. Enquiries were made of manufactures of "System” buildings (i.e. generally of the "pre-
It was then, in November 1983, that the Sub-
In the meanwhile the Architect had submitted plans to the Local Authority (Tendring District Council) for Planning Approval and this was quickly given, so that in mid-
It then became a matter of organising the work, with the Sub-
In 1984 the Village entered the project in the Village Ventures competition organised by the Rural Community Council for Essex for activities of all kinds in the County that would be beneficial to the community. After being sent a summary of the work planned and the reasons for it, the Review Committee visited the site, interviewed the Sub-
The Hall was completed by November 1985 and the old Hall was demolished. A large contingent from the Village attended a ceremony at which Mr. John Macaulay formally declared the Hall open and he also donated the wine, which was used to toast the success of the new building.
Subsequent improvements and additions have been made, the first of which was to build a pre-
In addition to those members of the Village mentioned above, help was freely given by Rikki Aldons, John Calver, Harry Caslake, John Garnham, Mick and Wally Pavey and others too numerous to name. We were very fortunate in being so well supported. There was once the remotest possibility that our Queen might have performed the opening ceremony in 1985. Sometime in the early part of that year Her Majesty was due to perform some ceremony in neighbouring Suffolk and the Rural Community Council for Essex was asked if there could be a suitable event that she might attend on the same day. However we weren't ready at that time but, even if we had been, I think that our chances of having such a visit would have been very remote.
(a) Files and documents relating to both old and new Halls, including those relating to the planning, financing, construction, etc. of the new building.
File No. 1 Correspondence with Parish Council and Sub-
File No. 2. Correspondence with the Charity Commissioners.
File No. 3. Quotations from builders and application for grant.
File No. 4. Accounts relating to the new Hall.
File No. 5. Drawings and approvals.
File No. 6. Historical material including 1977 Jubilee celebrations.
File No. 7. Dealings with Electricity Board.
File No. 8. Acoustic treatment.
File No. 9. Toilet for use by disabled people.
File No. 10. Lamp standard in car park.
File No. 11. Information and guarantees for electrical equipment.
File No. 12. Information on non-
File No. 13. Heating.
File No. 14. Cleaning equipment.
File No. 15. Information sheets and guides.
File No. 16. Socials over the years.
File No. 17. Village Hall accounts (not New VH).
File No. 18. Letter of welcome.
File No. 19. Maintenance and running instructions. Also forms to use with hirers.
File No. 20. Correspondence with Tendring District Council (including electrical testing).
File No. 21. Newspaper cuttings and photographs.
File No. 22. Minutes of meetings.
File No. 23. Annual General meetings
(b). Scrapbook in two volumes covering the New Village Hall project, from planning to completion compiled by Evelyn Garnham between 1979 and 1985 and kept in the village Hall library.
(c). Wrabness Village sign. Account of the design, manufacture and erection. Book written by John Calver with photographs by Janet Truscott and Fred Chamberlain. Stored in Village Hall library.
(d). Audio recordings:
(i) Memories of Wrabness Old Village Hall by Miss Nora Garnham
(ii) Opening ceremony of Wrabness New Hall on 10 November 1985.
(e) Colour slides covering the whole of the constrluction period.
Village Hall Secretary and Chairman of New Village Hall Sub-