Village Hall Remembered

The decision to build a Village Hall in Hadspen was made in 1937-1938 when permission was refused to hold Whist Drives and Dances in the Church Room. The Church Room, which is now part of Derek and Anita Pheby's house, was the meeting place for the village where some services, Sunday School and Parochial Church Council meetings were held. Mrs Parker Rhodes, who lived in Honeywick House, suggested that the villagers build their own hall and Mr Dick Jennings of Hadspen Valley House, who farmed that part of the valley, gave the plot of land on which the hall now stands. Mr George Clothier, who farmed at Bottom Barn Farm, together with Mrs Parker Rhodes and Mr Jennings helped finance the venture. The first job was to dig out the nut hedge which bordered the land and level the site. This was done with the help of a horse and cart which carried the soil and debris to the top of Nettlecombe Lane where it was spread out along the verges. There were living in Hadspen at the time about a dozen strong and able bodied young men, the Trevitts, Clothiers and Spratlings who together with some of their friends from Shepton Montague tackled the building job with enthusiasm. It is not certain who put in the sprung dance floor but the firm which is now Foote and Bicknell in Bruton were employed to do the plumbing. It took about 18 months to complete and a grand party was held at the opening.

Apart from whist drives and dances accompanied by the Billy Lukins Dance Band, there were two dart boards, table tennis and billiards being played on a regular basis. There was also a library of books for the villagers to borrow. The hall was heated by a solid fuel tortoise stove which had to be lit for four hours before an event. During the war the hall was used only for parties and wedding receptions for those couples married at Pitcombe Church. After the war there was a grand re-opening and the hall continued to flourish with a club night each Tuesday evening.

Later Mrs Pam Hobhouse became Chairman and Daphne Horsfail and her mother, Mrs Paul were caretakers for more than sixty years. In 1988 a Village Party was held to mark the 50th Anniversary. The hall continues to serve the community in many and various ways and it is only now that it needs replacing. What a credit to those who built it in the 1930's! Let us hope that the present community can provide a similar facility for the next seventy years.

Jenny Elliott in conversation with Daphne Horsfall
(From the March 2007 edition of the Pitcombe News)

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