The History of West Parley Memorial Hall

A brief history 1937 - 1964

Some twenty-six years ago, in October 1937, a Meeting of the Parishioners of West Parley was held at the Old Rectory to consider plans for building a Village Hall. Mr S T B Chubb was elected Chairman and the following resolution was passed: "To build a Hall of brick with tiled roof of 70 ft. x 30 ft. inclusive of stage". A Committee of seven was also elected and the Meeting gratefully accepted the offer of a site from Colonel Prideaux Brune. The cost of the Hall was limited to 1,000. Efforts to purchase first a barn by an annual payment were subsequently given up and it was decided to try and raise sufficient money to build.

Further Meetings were held on ways and means and the first Fete was held in June, 1939, in the Rectory garden. The weather was unfavourable and only 155 persons attended, raising £45. War then broke out and little could be done until the 6th July, 1945, when a Public Meeting was held in the Parley Cross Garage, with Mr. 0. P. B. Burden, c.c., as Chairman, to consider plans for a war memorial. Some seventy to eighty persons attended and after various suggestions were considered, it was decided to revive the Village Hall scheme, As the erection of a permanent hall seemed remote, it was decided to try and obtain a nissen hut. This was in due course obtained and its erection as a temporary hall was unanimously agreed to at a well attended meeting in the Parley Cross Cafe. Pending the building of a permanent Hall Colonel Prideaux Brune would accept a nominal rent for the site of 2/6 per annum. The public opening of the temporary hall took place on the l0th July, 1948, the bulk of the cost of the hut having been found by a grant from the National Council of Social Service.

The position was further consolidated in 1957 when Mr. Phillip Prideaux Brune very kindly conveyed the site on which the temporary hall stands for a nominal sum, and which the Parish Council have now taken over in exchange for the present site. The next few years were ones of constant endeavour to raise funds for a permanent hall. In 1960 a public appeal raised nearly £700. Fetes, whist drives and splendid help from the West Parley Womens Institute further increased our cash in hand. Various plans were considered and even drawn up, and the most promising needs: a new kitchen and store room and improvements to the somewhat primitive toilet arrangements were duly made.

Despite imperative maintenance, heavy rains and gales increased deterioration to metal that was not new when purchased and following on the very wise decision of your Parish Council to purchase the land adjoining the hall, the Committee sought the co-operation of the Council in an all-out effort to build a permanent hall. The response was immediate and after months of delay, frustration, meetings and a file of correspondence almost too heavy to carry, the result is before you. It is quite impossible to mention all those individuals who gave their time and energy throughout these past years and those who remain to see their ambition completed must be very thankful. The most generous help has also been so freely given by officials of the various ministries and our local councils and authorities without whose assistance we should still be in the preliminary stages of negotiation. This is the story of "Our Hall" and it is now the earnest desire of the Management Committee that local organisations will have no hesitation in making the West Parley Memorial Hall the venue for all their social activities.