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
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
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
risen to ₤250. Mssrs Griffiths and Tyler of Chichester were
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
reached ₤570 and a grant of ₤655 obtained from
Carnegie United Kingdom
Trust and an interest free loan of ₤655 from the the Rural
Council, to be repaid over five years, making a total of
Architect's fees and furniture brought the cost to about
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
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
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
₤68 in 1964. In January 1965 an oil burning warm air heating
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
received grants from Local Authorities and the Department of Education
and Science totalling ₤₤₤2,363. The Hall was rewired in December
a cost of ₤670. A number of elm trees which had died from elm
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
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