Village Hall  

Findon Village Hall

The Village Hall is 'home' to numerous local organisations that are based in and around the village. The village's Youth Club is located behind the Hall. The small car park at the front is barely adequate, as cars frequently park along the High Street when the Hall is crowded. The various events that are held in the Hall are advertised on the Events page, plus on the notice boards situated either side of the entrance to the car park, on the notice board at Pond Green, in the shop window at Peckhams Butchers (situated in The Square), and in the monthly publication called Findon News, which is available from the local newsagent.

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How to find the Village Hall

It is situated on the High Street [aerial photograph & map], opposite Findon Manor. Its postcode is BN14 0TA

How to book the Village Hall


    Pat Canavan
    Telephone 01903 874 141

History of the Village Hall

In 1923 the inhabitants of Findon began to realize that the village had no general meeting place and felt that a hall or amenity centre was desirable. However, it was not until 1930 that that the idea was given serious consideration and the collection of funds began, with donations from the Findon Dramatic Society, the Women's Institute and from various individuals.

At a public meeting held in February 1931, at the Old School House (next door to the Gun Inn on School Hill), a temporary committee was formed with two representatives from each village organisation. An Excecutive Committee was elected and Sir Nigel Davidson appointed Chairman. He was later replaced by Mrs Thynne of Muntham Court. Other representatives were: Mrs Bull, Mr Clarke, Mr H Jordan, Mr A E Short, Miss M Shepherd, Miss E Sadler, Mr J Ockenden and Mr O Thomas. This committee examined various sites and reported to a public meeting during December 1932. About 60 people attended the meeting, which was nearly 10% of the total population of the village at that time.

The site voted as being the most suitable was a kitchen garden and orchard, in the High Street opposite the Old House, which was part of the 'School Field' adjacent to the Glebe Land and owned by Mr A S Fisher. The Old House was the original Vicarage and is now Findon Manor Hotel.

The Vicar, Reverend>. H E U Bull bought this land from Mr Fisher and sold it for the Village Hall for ₤283 6s 8d. The first trustees were: Mr A C Cundell, Mr John Goring, Miss M Shepherd, Mrs M Thynne and Mr G Winton.

The first Annual General Meeting was held in September 1933 when the funds in hand amounted to ₤12. Within a year funds had risen to ₤250. Mssrs Griffiths and Tyler of Chichester were appointed architects and plans were drawn up for the new Hall. These were submitted for approval to East Sussex Rural Council of Social Service. Towards the end of 1937 the plans were redrawn based on a hall in Slindon by Mr Tyler who obtained five tenders, the cheapest of which was ₤1,406 from Clare & Son of Chichester. Funds had now reached ₤570 and a grant of ₤655 obtained from Carnegie United Kingdom Trust and an interest free loan of ₤655 from the the Rural Community Council, to be repaid over five years, making a total of ₤1,560. Architect's fees and furniture brought the cost to about ₤1,600. The loan was paid off within the required five years.

Building work commenced in March 1938 and the Hall was opened on 24th August 1938 by Mrs Warren Pearl, an American lady who was staying with the Chairman Mrs Peggy Frank. After completion the Council ran dances and film shows until all the liabilities had been paid off.

In September 1939, World War II started and the Hall was used five days a week as a school for evacuee children. This was changed in July 1940 owing to the fear of a German invasion. During 1941-1942 the Home Guard used the Hall for for training part-time but they left the Hall in the autumn of 1942. At that time the charge for admittance to dances was 1s 6d (7.5p) for those who arrived early, 1/- (5p) for those who arrived late and there was no charge for those who arrived broke. Many of those attending were soldiers stationed in the vicinity on a basic wage of 2/- (10p) per day, less deductions. In the summer of 1943 an Infant Welfare Centre opened under the direction of Nurse Joan Day who was still living in the area when Frank Morton wrote his booklet in 1988.

By the end of the War in 1945 the liquid assets amounted to ₤553. After the War income rapidly reduced, as there were no longer soldiers to patronise the various functions. Findon Youth Club was formed in 1945 and this was permitted to use the Hall. The Hall Council installed six gas radiant heaters in 1946. Sometime prior to 1961 six black heaters were suspended from the roof trusses.

The Village Hall was not the property of the Parish Council which had no more jurisdiction over it than any other organisation in the village which appointed a representative to the Village Hall Committee. The Parish Council gave the Village Hall a donation each year as a contribution towards running costs, but so did other organisations and individuals.

According to the Minute Books that were kept it appears that after 1951 the Hall council became more apathetic and only met annually between November 1953 and December 1956. From then on, no AGM was held until February 1958 and there appears to have been no further meeting until October 1961. The Village Hall Council was reorganised in January 1962. Mr A J McCarthy was elected Chairman.

When efforts were made to revive the Village Hall in 1961, it was discovered that of the original five Trustees, four had died, leaving only Colonel Goring. So a supplementary deed was drawn up and in addition to the Colonel, the Honorable Mrs Wyatt and Mr Antony Bowles were appointed.

'Friends of the Village Hall' raised ₤114 in 1963 and ₤68 in 1964. In January 1965 an oil burning warm air heating plant was installed. By 1970 the Hall was restored to good order at a cost of ₤2,300 towards which grants of ₤518 were received. At around that time the liquid assets totalled ₤1,055 hence in eight years ₤2,800 had been raised in addition to the running costs.

A new kitchen and servery were built on the North side of the Hall and a garage was erected on the South side of the Hall, to be used for storage. These two items cost about ₤3,500. The Hall received grants from Local Authorities and the Department of Education and Science totalling ₤₤₤2,363. The Hall was rewired in December 1975 at a cost of ₤670. A number of elm trees which had died from elm disease were removed. At this time the Youth Club commenced building their own premises behind the Hall.

Between 1982 and 1987, a proper car park of tarmacadam on concrete was completed, more stage lighting and a false ceiling in the Hall was added, the old kitchen was converted into a meeting room, a second dressing room was constructed and some double glazing installed at a cost of around ₤8,000. The old oil fired central heating system was replaced by a gas fired boiler at a cost of ₤1,150.

Over the years, in addition to being 'home' to the numerous local organisations, the Hall has been used for a wide variety of events, including: whist drives, jumble sales, wedding receptions, birthday parties, antiques auctions, art classes, dog training, ballroom dancing, mother & toddler groups, darts practice, scottish dancing, gentlemen's hairdressing, flower clubs, slide shows, amateur dramatics, village fetes etc. In 1988 bookings were about 500 a year.

These notes are based on a 16-page booklet called Findon Village Hall - The First Fifty Years - A Short History which was published by Frank Morton in 1988. A copy of this booklet, which is in turn based on a chronological history that was compiled by Group Captain Lorimer in 1975, was borrowed from Findon Valley Library.

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