Village Hall History

With the assistance of the National Council of Social Services , an agreement was reached in 1950 to provide a Village Hall for the village of Timberscombe . On 24th June 1950 the NCSS signed an agreement with the Diocese of Bath and Wells to lease 416 square yards of the Glebe land for the sum of £5 per annum for a period of 10 years.

The lease gave the lessees permission to erect “two timber huts on brick and concrete foundations (with Cloakrooms, Lavatories and Kitchen) for use as a Village Hall” The lessees were to use the said building as “ a Village Hall for the purpose of physical and mental training and recreational and social moral and intellectual development through the medium of reading and recreational rooms library lectures, classes recreations and entertainments or otherwise as may be found to be expedient for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish of Timberscombe in the County of Somerset and its immediate vicinity without distinction of sex or of political religious or other opinions.”

As the lease was from the church it made numerous stipulations about how and when the Hall could be used. For example, no games or meetings on Sundays, Good Friday or Christmas Day, no betting, gambling or other offensive conduct nor any illegal or immoral purposes and no use as a public house, inn, tavern, beer shop or for the sale of alcohol. Further it said, “nothing shall be done on the premises which may be or become a nuisance or annoyance to the lessor or other the occupant or occupants for the time being of the Vicarage or Parsonage House belonging to the Benefice of Timberscombe aforesaid or to the Vicar officiating or the congregation attending any service in the Church or Churchyard of the said parish”.

On 19th July 1950 the NCSS signed an agreement with the Timberscombe Village Hall Committee of Management to provide a suitable building to be used as a Village Hall.
The agreement acknowledged that there was inadequate accommodation available for recreational and social activities in the village and agreed that the NCSS would provide a temporary building on the Glebe land previously rented by the NCSS. The agreement which can be viewed HERE was signed by Ivan Henry Bircham and Frank Huxtable on behalf of the Hall Management Committee and witnessed by David John Cockle. The rent for the building was the half yearly sum of £6.10.0d.

Old Village Hall 1
Outside the Old Village Hall
Old Village Hall 2 (2)
Inside the Old Village Hall

A plan of the old Hall, (see below) found in the Village Hall paperwork, indicates that the building contained a main hall (32’ x 24’), a kitchen (8’x18’), a billiards room (19’x16’) a card room (10’x9’) and two cloakrooms.

old-vh-plan.jpg

The Hall was built at right angles to the present building and across the current car park.
The remaining 0.85 acres of the Glebe was sold to the Rural District Council of Williton in October 1954 and used to build the Glebe housing.
On the 14th September 1954 a Deed of Trust was signed, formally setting up the general management and control of the Trust Premises (the Village Hall) by the Village Hall Management Committee. This Trust Deed is still the basis for the present-day management of the Hall, although new wording has been added to cover modern laws and regulations.

The Trust Deed was signed by Lady Adelaide Audrey Anson, Mary Edith Morel and Alexander Dru and witnessed by Frances E Gould (Housemaid at Knowle) and Bryda J Gregory (Housekeeper at Bickham).

In addition to elected members the organisation in the village were represented by:
Mr Jack Quartly,   Timberscombe Parish Council
Mr Percival Worth Stoodley ,  The Committee of the Produce Club
Mr William Winter,   The Committee of the Cricket Club
Mr Frank Huxtable ,  The Committee of the Youth Football Club
Mr Harry Cane,   The Committee of the British Legion
Mrs Eva Loverage,   The Committee of the Women’s Institute
Mrs Edith Baker,   The Parochial Church Council
Mr Ivan Henry Bircham,   The Committee of the Conservative Association
Mr Rodney Floyd,   The Trustees of the United Methodist Chapel
Mrs Elsie Veale,    The Committee of the Mothers Union

The lease for the land and building was renewed several times until in 1964 the temporary building was sold to the Village Hall Committee for the sum of £190.
The final lease for the land is dated 1970 for a term of 7 years at £20 per annum but this lease was never signed. By this time the temporary building was becoming unsound and the Committee decided it was necessary to rebuild the Hall. A short-term lease was, however, insufficient to obtain the grants necessary for the new building and the Committee set about trying to negotiate a long-term lease. This proved to be difficult with the land agents for the Diocese, Clattons Chartered Surveyors, offering a 28- year lease with a 3-yearly rate review and an initial rent of £175 per annum !!

After much debate the Committee decided to take the step of trying to raise the required money for buying the land and for the rebuild. On 8th August 1977 the land was sold to the Committee for the sum of £1400 plus legal fees. An additional piece of land, on which the current porch is situated, was also bought for the sum of £100.
Prior to the purchase of the land some considerable discussions took place with the Diocese to amend the covenant restricting the sale of alcohol on the site.

The conveyance was signed by the Reverand Edward Jeffery Miller and the Bishop of Bath and Wells, on behalf of the Diocese and by Major William Enderby (Half Yard, Fitzhead, Taunton) , Adrian Thodore Vulliamy ( Retired Chartered Engineer of Bickham Cottage), Anthony Edward Fowler Thomas (Retired Engineer of Wootton Lodge) and James Mercy Henderson (Lady’s Field) on behalf of the Village Hall Committee.
In 1976 the old structure was demolished making way for a new structure and car park.
The plan showing the new and old buildings are shown below.

new VH plan

new Vh plan 2

The building was designed and built by Devon Lady of Honiton, Devon.
A sum of around £15,000 was required to build the new Hall and a total of £12,000 was raised in grants from West Somerset District Council, the Ministry of Education and Somerset County Council. In addition to seeking grants a loans/gift fund was set up with villagers either donating or lending multiples of £10 to the fund. A total of £1040 was raised by loans which were gradually paid back over the next 4 years. The final repayment was made on 19th December 1980. The first page of the loans book is shown below.

Vh loans book 1

£75 was raised by selling the wood from the old building, whilst the remainer was raised by donations and fundraising events.
The new hall was officially opened on 30th August 1976 by Tom King M.P. for Bridgwater. The plaque below commemorates the event.

imgp4252.jpg

The hall was extensively refurbished in 2006 at a cost of over £100,000. The extension to the hall provided lockable storage space for all furniture and equipment, leaving the entire floor area free for the safe enjoyment of activities and providing the extra length needed for the Bowls Club to compete in the local league. Access for the disabled was  greatly improved by the provision of a ramp. A toilet for the disabled was installed and men’s and women’s toilets were completely renovated. New lighting was provided by twenty-four downlights, which allow users to select the lighting level of their choice. All users are able to enjoy various functions and activities in a bright, attractive environment.

A year later the kitchen was fully modernised to include two ovens and a commercial dishwasher. A plaque commemorating the refurbishment can be seen below.

IMGP4254