Short History of the Parish Hall
by Jim Rees

In the late 1920's, a few interested villagers decided that Great Mongeham needed a village hall for community functions. Now they just had to raise the money! After a successful summer fete, a Jumble Sale, a Whist Drive and several donations, a total of £70 was in the kitty for a hall fund. In consequence, the vicar, Revd. Stanley Swain, called a meeting in the old Mongeham School which was attended by about 40 people. A committee was then set up to raise the remainder. Percy Phillips quoted an estimate of £710 and was given the contract. The site was donated by a local farmer Fred Solley.


The hall was constructed and after the purchase of paraffin lamps, a coke burning copper and the hire of tables, chairs and crockery, the hall was opened with a whist drive and dance on 6th February 1929. To start with, the Hall Committee organised events such as dances and whist drives, but gradually outside bookings started to come. A committee member organised a working men’s club and a dance band made regular bookings. Old folks’ tea socials and children’s Christmas treats were also organised. At the 1934 AGM, a scale of charges was adopted. Functions included political meetings as well as dances, socials, concerts and jumble sales. Hall finances continued to be precarious as more expenses were incurred. Electricity came to the village in 1934 and gas arrived a year later. Mains drainage was also planned but did not arrive until after the war.




During WW2 the hall was requisitioned by the military and was used as a NAAFI for the troops stationed around the village. The hall was returned to the village in 1945 as is noted in the parish magazine. It also notes “for the benefit of newcomers” it is not a “Church Hall but a Village Hall, and that the inhabitants as a whole are responsible through their elected Committee for its management and financial stability”. And so it continues to this day. Thanks to a sum of £75 from the army for "dilapidations and a portion of the rent still owing" the overdraft at last was reduced to less than £10.

The Hall today is thriving, providing a venue for organisations and private parties both local and further afield.

More of the 
history of the hall can be found at

http://www.greatmongehamsociety.co.uk/great-mongeham-history/buildings-of-great-mongeham/175-great-mongeham-parish-hall.html
    






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