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The Fernhurst Society

Memories of Fernhurst: opening of the village hall

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The Village Hall was opened on 22 April 1909 and publicly dedicated to the social service of the village. Invitations had been sent to all the subscribers and many friends from neighbouring villages came and by 4 o’clock the hall was full. Mrs Barton, the vicar’s wife, declared the hall open and hoped that it might become the centre of social life in Fernhurst. Tea was served by the ladies of the village and memory tells how very much the tea was enjoyed and the service of the hostesses appreciated.

Songs were given by Mrs Salvin and Miss Lucy and the acoustics of the hall pronounced good. Poems were recited by Miss King and a short play cleverly produced by Mrs King. In the evening a fairy play ‘Briar Rose’ was performed by members of the Girls’ Club and their friends and the general opinion was that ‘It was quite the best thing of its kind’ that Fernhurst had ever done and much surprise was shown at the talent displayed. What a perfect time it would be as the staging and costumes were all home made, the interest was much greater. The evening was rounded off with a dance, at which a great number were present and willing helpers in plenty to remove the chairs and scenery between performances.

The workmen employed on the hall building were almost entirely Fernhurst men and the workmanship and materials used of the very best. In a real sense it could be called the hall of the village. In 1910 the heating of the hall was completed with a hot water system at an estimated cost of £40.

A village hall without a piano is very incomplete and the Village Institute had been delighted to lend their piano. But generosity in the form of a new piano, given by Mr and Mrs King, took the village by surprise. The instrument was a fine, handsome one with a remarkably sweet tone. The gift was much appreciated and gave pleasure for a long number of years.

The committee of the Village Hall drew up a scale of charges which we feel would be of interest to record: - Afternoon meeting 5/- (25p), lectures 10/- (50p) or 7/6 (37 ½ p) if free, political meeting 20/- (£1). Dances, etc up to twelve o’clock 20/- (5/- an hour after twelve), concert or amateur performance 20/-, professional 30/- (£1.50), private dance or afternoon reception 20/-, evening 40/-. These charges included lighting and heating.

Now, in 1958, the hall is still the centre for village activities. It is the regular meeting place for the Parish Council, the Women’s Institute and the Choral Society. During the year there are church social occasions, concerts and dances, lectures and parties and the village produce shows, which all help to say thank you to the village people of 1909 for their foresight in building the hall. The heating system has just been overhauled and modernised at a cost of £230, so the functions should take place in even and warm temperatures.

Fernhurst Village Hall

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The Fernhurst Oral History Project was supported by the Local Heritage Initiative. The Local Heritage Initiative was developed by the Countryside Agency and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Nationwide Building Society.