Great Longstone Community Website

Sunday, February 16


Brief History of the Village Hall

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The village institute was built during the early part of the 19th century, primarily to provide a place of recreation for young men of the village. As well as billiards, table tennis was played and teams entered into local leagues. Dances were regularly held, as were whist drives. Tea parties for village children and a youth club was formed.

The foundation stone was laid in 1906 by Mr Marple of Thornbridge Hall. The land, which was formally the village pound, had been donated by the Duke of Devonshire.

The building was opened by Mr & Mrs Britton in 1907 and the loans taken out to do the building work were finally paid off in 1912 (and celebrated with a dinner in the White Lion). The building and associated work had cost £263. In addition £40 was spent on a billiard table, £4 on chairs, £7.75 on whilst tables, £4 on a piano and £4 on crockery. Gas was installed and a clock bought making the total about £360.

The association based at the institute for an unlimited number of male and female members, over the age of 15 years, for the purpose of social intercourse, mutual helpfulness, mental and moral improvement and rational recreation and amusement.

The Institute was to be open from 4pm until 10pm on weekdays, from 2pm on Saturdays and closed on Sundays. Gambling and games for money and the sale or consumption upon the premises of intoxicating liquors were strictly prohibited.

A surviving minute book includes the following:

1912 - The rifle club asked for a 2s 6d (12.5p) reduction in the rent of the occasion of their dance as the piano was out of order.

1914 – The hall was used as a recruiting centre by a Captain Wann. During the same year seating purchased  for 12 s 6d (62.5p) from the Old Harrow Inn (now Harrow House), when it closed down.

1922 – The Red Cross was not charged any rent when they gave ‘Health Lectures for Women’.

1923 – The old oil lamps were replaced with gas lighting. Some people were banned from billiard matches for rowdy behaviour.

1940 – The Parish Council asked the Institute Committee to place the building at their disposal, if required in an emergency, after being instructed by Bakewell Rural District Council to be prepared to provide a mortuary in the event of casualties from air raids.

After the Second World War the building was used for a number of years as the school’s dinning room. This valuable source of income was lost after the school was rebuilt and the institute went into a period of decline.

In the 1990’s fundraising and grants have resulted in the building be refurbished to a high standard. Two of the events created to help with fund-raising, the Annual Art Show on the first weekend of August and the Fell Race on the first Friday in September and still regular features in the village calendar.

The village hall is now a registered charity (1048410) and run by a management committee.

This is based on a History Society article
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