Village Hall



Angmering Village Hall ( see website www.angmeringvillagehall.btck.co.uk ) was formally opened on 7 November 1928 by Mrs Margaret Butcher of Ecclesden Manor. Village Hall - copyright: Neil Rogers-DavisThe opening ceremony was "sandwiched" between a Whist Drive and a Dance. The cost of entry to the dance was one shilling and to ensure that there were sufficient dancing partners for the Angmering lads, a bus was provided to transport young ladies from their homes in surrounding hamlets to the hall and to return them home safely after midnight. More than 200 resident of Angmering and district attended these events.

 

By the mid-1920s, the population of Angmering had risen to c1200, and after WW1 there was a greater expectation of what life had to offer. In 1925, the Angmering branch of the Royal British Legion voiced the feeling which had been growing in intensity, that the village should have a building for social and philanthropic activities. The Legion called a public meeting and a Ways and Means Committee was formed from each village corporate body (Parish Church, Catholic Church, Baptist Church, Parish Council, Foresters, Equitable Society, British Legion, Horticultural Society, Choral Society, Scouts, Guides, St Wildrid's Club, and the Football, Cricket and Stoolball Clubs).

 

The Committee first met in 1926 and quickly produced an outline plan. Mr Frederick Savill of Ham Manor kindly promised to donate land to the south of St Margaret's Churchyard on which a hall could be built. It was located on the north side of Station Road and Black Ditch. He also donated £200 toward the furnishing of the hall when erected. Mr Walter Butcher of Ecclesden Manor was equally generous and kindly promised to meet the cost of constructing the hall.

 

By 1928, the building had been erected, and in a Trust Deed dated 14 June 1928, it was conveyed to six trustees to:

"hold the Premises upon Trust to permit the same to be appropriated in perpetuity under the name of “The Angmering Village Hall” as a Village Hall or Institute for the inhabitants of the Parish of Angmering aforesaid and for the advancement of their intellectual social and moral welfare in accordance with rules and regulations to be from time to time made by the Trustees".

The original trustees were:

Frederick James Savill of Ham Manor, Angmering

Walter Butcher of Ecclesden Manor, Angmering

The Honourable Winifred Mary Lady Johnston O.B.E of St. John’s Priory, Poling

Arthur William Fitz Roy Somerset of Castle Goring, Worthing

Guy Percival Tyrwhitt-Drake of Tower House, Arundel

John Carlyle Pocock of Crowts, Tuesley, Godalming, Surrey, Architect

In accordance with the Trust Deed, the trustees passed byelaws including one that vested the control and management of the hall to a Management Committee. This committee was formed under the chairmanship of the Rector, the Rev T Liddersdale Palmer, with the Headmaster of Older's School, Mr AGE Russell, as secretary.Village Hall Plan 1928 The committee met for the first time on 12 September 1928 and later spent much of its early life arranging for the furnishing and equipping of the building. Whist Drives and Dances were frequently on its programme of social activities, mostly to raise funds to meet running expenses of the hall and to donate to funds for improvements to Worthing Hospital which, in those days, relied on charity.

 

It is interesting to note that the Trust Deed for some unknown reason excluded clergymen from become trustees. It stated:

"A Clergyman (whether holding any benefice or cure of souls or not) or a preacher or a Minister of any religious body or congregation shall not be eligible as a Trustee and if a Trustee shall become a clergyman, preacher or minister he shall thereupon vacate his office as Trustee."

Casual bookings of the hall increased over the years and by 1934 the hiring rates had risen to 5 shillings for a morning, 10 shillings for an afternoon, and 1 pound for an evening. A change of use for the hall came in 1938 when from May to November, Worthing Rural District Council provided experts every fortnight to give lectures on Air Raid Precautions. In 1939, it was designated as the headquarters of the Local Defence Volunteers (Home Guard). From 1 November 1940 until 20 September 1945 it was requisitioned under Defence Regulations and occupied by the Army. Notwithstanding that, the military put on films and dances to which villagers were invited.

 

Following WW2, the hall has been used by numerous village organisations and residents for a variety of purposes.

 

When a trustee died or retired, he/she was replaced in accordance with the Trust Deed. However, as the Management Committee had registered the hall as a Charity with the Charity Commission, it was subject to to Charities' legislation. In 1993, the Charities Act required that the trustees of a charity should be responsible for the management and administration which were effectively already being performed by the Management Committee. Members of the Management Committee therefore became the trustees of the Charity. From that time the legal title to the property is held by Holding Trustees appointed by the Management Committee trustees. Today, the simplified objects of the Village Hall, as registered with the Charity Commission, are:

"The charity is established for the advancement of the intellectual, social and moral welfare of the inhabitants of the parish of angmering by providing communal facilities and promoting community projects of a charitable nature. The village hall is available for hire by any individual or organisation in accordance with the standard hiring agreement and scale of charges adopted for the year."

In 1989 the hall was extended and paid for by a 20 year mortgage taken out by Angmering Parish Council plus proceeds from various events arranged by the Management Committee. This provided a new room called the King Suite and other improved facilities.

 

It was in 1998, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its founding, that The Angmering Society presented the Village Hall with a flagpole which is sited to the front of the building. The Society has taken responsibility for the raising of flags on the monarch's birthday, St George's Day, and at other appropriate times. The Society also placed a cast bronze plaque on the front wall of the building in 2005 (see photo below) to provide a visible reminder to villagers of the hall's history and purpose.

 

Village Hall Plaque presented by The Angmering Society in 2005

 

In the middle of the first decade of the 21st Century, the Management Committee assumed ownership of an additional strip of land (approx 20 feet wide) to its east which had for many years been used as part of its car park.

 


This article is substantially based upon one written in June 2008 by the late Eric Grumbridge (a one-time Holding Trustee) with additions and photos by Neil Rogers-Davis
September 2011

Source Material :

  1. Village Hall Trust Deed - 14 June 1928
  2. Worthing Gazette 14 November 1928
  3. Village Hall Minutes
  4. "Angmering - Reminiscences of bygone days"

Page first uploaded: 10 September 2011