The Village Hall

Photo:Orwell Village Hall 2010 New Front Doors were fitted in 2011

Orwell Village Hall 2010 New Front Doors were fitted in 2011

Photo:The Hall ready for a wedding in 2012

The Hall ready for a wedding in 2012

Photo:The hall was extended westwards by local volunteers

The hall was extended westwards by local volunteers

Photo:In 2000 a "Showcase" was held in the hall to show the Clubs, Societies & Businesses in Orwell

In 2000 a "Showcase" was held in the hall to show the Clubs, Societies & Businesses in Orwell

Photo:The extension Southwards

The extension Southwards

Photo:The Southward extension

The Southward extension

Photo:The bowls club was started in 2004 and has proved very popular

The bowls club was started in 2004 and has proved very popular

Photo:Katie Reid at the pannier market selling vegetables and bread.

Katie Reid at the pannier market selling vegetables and bread.

Photo:2012 WI serving tea and cakes for the antiques fair in the hall

2012 WI serving tea and cakes for the antiques fair in the hall

By Derek Skipper

 

 
Photo:Thomas Henry Willmott -founder of the Village Hall

Thomas Henry Willmott -founder of the Village Hall

 

Until the early 1920s public gatherings in Orwell had been held in the parish church, the schools, the public houses or one of the large barns at Manor Farm or West Farm, but a there was a growing need for a purpose built village centre for public meetings, concerts and dances. Money was raised over several years by many local people, led by Mr Thomas Willmot, who also ran the Orwell Football Team, and in 1929 work began on the new hall on land generously donated by Captain Bendyshe of Barrington who was Lord of Orwell Manor at the time.

The hall was a large wooden building that, according to village legend, was an ex Army hut that had been part of a military encampment on the Big Meadow on Fishers Lane during the First World War and had been left as surplus to requirements.Whatever its origins, it was erected by F. Hale & Son of Sutton  at a cost of £300 and opened in 1929.

The wooden hall served the village well for fifty years, but in 1979 a band of 25 people volunteered to extend it by removing the west side wall and rebuilding it in brick nine feet outwards. This involved the demolition of the “local lock up” [no conservation in those days?]. It took five months of effort and the hall was reopened on Nov 15th 1979.

1991 saw the need for further expansion on the south side at a cost of £30,000. S.Cambs District Council granted half this sum and the rest was covered by loans and donations from Orwell residents, the Orwell Players and the Parish Council. The scheme added extra toilets, a committee room and a stage. The hall is currently well used by groups within the village and outsiders. The [almost] 100 year old "wooden shed” needs continual maintenance, but it is a focal hub of the community and can seat 120 people.

Photo:A good floor for dancing and carpet bowls

A good floor for dancing and carpet bowls

What takes place there in 2012?

  • Wedding Receptions
  • Dances
  • Parties
  • Short Mat Bowls
  • Antique Markets
  • Pannier Markets
  • Pantomimes
  • Plays
  • Aerobics
  • Keep Fit
  • Thai Chi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIS IS THE END OF PART ONE OF THE HIGH STREET WALK.

PLEASE GO BACK TO THE INITIAL TITLE PAGE TO START PART TWO OF THE WALK, WHICH GOES FROM THE VILLAGE HALL TO THE EASTERN END OF THE VILLAGE.

This page was added by Derek Skipper on 06/09/2012.
Comments about this page

History of Orwell Village Hall In 1888 a Reading Room was built in Orwell probably on the site of the present Village Hall. This was built by public subscription. In 1930 the existing building was put up thanks to the enthusiasm of Thomas Willmott. This was a large wooden building that came from the far end of Fishers Lane. It had been an army hut, probably used during the 1914-18 war and was surplus to requirements. It served the village well for 50 years and in 1979 a band of 25 people volunteered to extend it by removing the West side wall and rebuilding it in brick 9 feet outwards. This involved the demolition of the “local lock up” [no conservation in those days?]. It took 5 months of effort and the hall was reopened on Nov 15th 1979. 1991 saw the need of further expansion on the South side at a cost of £30,000. This produced extra toilets, a committee room and a stage. The hall is currently well used by groups within the village and outsiders. The [almost] “100 year old wooden shed” needs continual maintenance.

By Nancy Skipper
On 30/01/2013

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.