Hadspen - Before the First Village Hall

I have been told that in 1919, after the end of Word War One, there were a lot of young men living in Hadspen which was then very much a farming village. So around 1922 a club was formed by Mr F Golledge of Hadspen Farm.

At that time the thatched house on the corner (now Plaishett’s) belonged to Hadspen Farm. It was then four cottages. Three were lived in but the fourth, which consisted of one room downstairs and one up, was empty. However, you couldn’t use upstairs because there was a prop in the middle of the room keeping the ceiling up. I've only known someone go up there once, when it nearly caught fire, but that’s another story.

So this fourth cottage became Hadspen Men’s Clubroom. The Committee consisted of two people, one was Mr Golledge who was also the chairman. The subscription was 2/6d (12½p) per season which went from September to March. As the clubroom became more used a caretaker was appointed to keep it clean and tidy.

It soon became a place where the village children had Sunday School. Lent services were held there and Holy Communion was received on the first Sunday of the month. My sister Lilly who taught at Castle Cary Primary School became the first Sunday School teacher and was also secretary of the club.

Mrs Arthur Hobhouse of Hadspen House, later to become Lady Hobhouse, ran the Mothers’ Meeting every week. I remember her reading to the group as they sat knitting and sewing. I must have been under school age but can clearly recall the story of “Little Nell”. Children’s parties were also a highlight of the Clubroom.

Mr Golledge later built a new room adjoining the old, in memory of his sister. It was called the New Church Room and I think it is now used by Dr Pheby as his office.

With this extra space available boys of 13 —15 years were allowed to join and later, girls. Their subscription was 1/6d (17½p.) However, they all had to leave by 9 o’clock so that the Men’s Club had time on their own. It was a very popular meeting place, and quite a few people came in from other villages.

The club was now going well and held whist drives, dances and concerts. They ran what were called “Snowball whist drives”. Starting with a £5 prize this amount would be increased by a bit of the profit each time until it got to £10. Then they would go back and start again. The prize was only occasionally won, as to qualify you had to get a score of 175 or maybe 180, and that was hard to achieve — unless you had won most of your games all evening.

Around 1934-35 the fortnightly whist drives ran into trouble through holding their game during Lent. Mr R Jennings came to the rescue allowing his home (now Hadspen Valley House) to be used so that play could continue. Soon after that his father offered the site for a Village Hall.

And the rest is history!

Tom Spratling  - Pitcombe News July/August 2008

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