The History of Trimpley Village Hall
In 1927 Mr and Mrs Joseph Howard moved into Holbeache and during that year they provided a wooden hut, on a small plot of land on the Holbeache estate, to be used for village meetings and social events. For twenty years Mr Howard financed and maintained “The Hut” for use by the newly formed Women’s Institute, Men’s Social Club and Girl Guides.
In January 1946, at the request of Mr and Mrs Howard, a well-represented gathering of people of Trimpley and district met in “The Hut”. On this occasion Mr Howard said he felt the time had come when he should hand “The Hut” to the village and he trusted this gift would be accepted by the parish. Mr Howard had given instructions for the necessary deeds to be drawn up – these to include a small piece of land adjoining “The Hut”, for use as a car park. Mr Philip Mole, on behalf of the parish, expressed grateful thanks to Mr Howard for his very generous gift.
A committee, of some 27 parishioners, was then formed to be responsible for the Trimpley Village Hall (as “The Hut” was now to be called).
In 1948 consideration was given to the provision of an annexe to the Hall, in order to overcome the problem of the billiard table having to be removed every Friday to enable the Trimpley Youth Club meeting to go ahead. However, it was not until 1955 that a 35ft wooden hut was provided, through Mr Philip Mole, as the very reasonable cost of £137, as an annexe to the Village Hall. Members of the Men’s Social Club erected the building and made a contribution of £30 towards the “Extension Fund”. Around this time the car park was improved and the sewer renewed. A grant was received from the Carnagie UK Trust towards the cost of kitchen furniture, water heater, cooker, tables and a folding stage. The kitchen was re-roofed and the new gents’ toilet completed in 1959.
In the 1960s the School used the Hall as an extra classroom. A Table Tennis Club was set up and the Youth Club continued for a few years. The Village Hall was registered as a charity in 1963.
The 1970’s saw Silver Jubilee celebrations and a lease was drawn up to cover extra land for car parking. In 1981 plans were tabled for a new extension to replace the kitchen and toilet block. A Building Improvement Working Group and a Fundraising Sub-Committee were set up. Grants were applied for and fundraising began in earnest.
Work began putting in the foundations for the new kitchen and toilet extension.
By 1983 Phase I work was completed. Plans were discussed for Phase II (bricking up of the main Hall and rewiring).
The following year Phase III (bricking up and extending the Men’s Social Club and roof insulation) was completed. The whole project had cost £34,500.
Fundraising was essential, with eight or nine events being organised each year. The first Trimpley Revue, by Trimpley Players, was performed in 1985 and still continues every other year since then. A new maple floor was installed in the main hall and window locks were fitted. Car park repairs were carried out following removal of the telephone pole which had caused so many problems over the years. A water meter was installed – until now the Holbeache estate had paid for all water used by the Hall. A second hand double garage was acquired for use as storage space. Committee members collected and erected the garages, having first obtained the necessary permissions.
During the 1990s a ventilation system was installed together with emergency lighting and a fire alarm system. Bar alterations were carried out to satisfy Health & Safety Regulations. New window locks and bar grill were fitted. The car park was again extended, following permission to remove a hedge. A new hedge was planted along the edge of the car park. The hardcore for the car park extension came from Huntsfield Farm, a mile or so down the road, following demolition of the farmhouse. In the mid-1990s discussions began regarding possible extensions to the Village Hall and Social Club, and a steering sub-committee was appointed. A Parish Survey and Public Meeting showed local support for the extension proposals. A Lottery bid was made, many grant applications were sent off and plans were submitted to the Planning Department. In 1998 circumstances put a temporary halt on the proposals for extending the Hall – the Planners would not allow extension on the present site as they considered the access lane inadequate. An alternative site was offered for a new Village Hall and Clubroom, and it was proposed to obtain permission for two bungalows to be built on the existing site with the proceeds of the sale of the land to be split between the Village Hall and Holbeache Estate. However, it was then discovered that part of the existing site was still owned by the Howard family. There then followed a long and drawn out procedure to trace members of that family in order to obtain permission to dispose of the site to raise the money for a new Village Hall.
Eventually, all members of the Howard family were tracked down from around the world, and they agreed to sign over the land to the Trustees of the Village Hall. However, by this time the offer of an alternative site had gone and by late 2002 it was decided to build a new toilet block on the existing building. In 2003 a grant was received towards the cost of an external Notice board and plans for the new toilet block were approved. In December 2004 the application for a grant from the Big Lottery Fund was turned down. A nearby field came up for sale and was considered as a site for a new Village Hall, but this idea was thwarted by the District Council Planners. Despite all this, by May 2005 sufficient funds were in place to enable work to start on the extension to the existing Hall. At last in 2005 ownership of the freehold land was finally registered with the Land Registry. By the end of 2005 the new toilet block was finished.
Mid 2006 saw the resurfacing of the car park and the old toilet block had now been converted to a store room. Following problems with vehicles blocking the Farm access lane a new sign was installed. The following year five windows and a door were replaced and three table trolleys were purchased. Also in 2007 the Trustees were delighted to accept the offer of transfer of the land, currently leased from Mrs Carpenter, to the ownership of the Village Hall. By 2008 a new Hire Agreement form and Standard Conditions of Hire leaflet had been prepared.
Early in 2009 committee members were considering improvements to the kitchen and obtaining quotations for a new stage. By the end of this year, consideration was being given to building an extension to house a new kitchen and provide much needed storage space. Following extensive consultation throughout the parish and with current users of the Hall, plans were drawn up and permission was granted in 2010. Work began in earnest filling in grant application forms. By the middle of 2010 the new stage and new chairs were on order.
By July 2011 sufficient funding was in place and work began. The main hall was completely refurbished, including roof insulation, a new plastered ceiling, energy-saving heating and lighting, new windows and doors.
Work in progress – carried out by local building company, Forward Contractors Ltd.
New windows looking out across the fields
A new fully fitted kitchen was installed
and a store room added to the end of the building.
Solar PV panels add to the ‘green’ credentials of the Village Hall, providing renewable energy.
[Carole Gammond 5.3.2012]