Throw back Thursday – The History of Bartley Village Hall
For Village Halls week 2020 we are celebrating the contribution that some of our members have to their community by sharing the history of their hall/community space!
Bartley Village Hall
At the beginning of the 20th century, much of the population of Lower Bartley worked on the Goldenhayes estate owned by the Howard family. To be able to attend a Sunday Church service, they would have to make their way, usually on foot, to the parish church of St Mary’s at Copythorne.
Mr John Howard and his wife, Constance, felt that the local parishioners should be able to worship nearer home. They bought a quarter acre plot at the junction of Shepherds Road and Bourne Road and gave it to the residents for a Mission Church to be built.
The local residents raised £90 to purchase a ‘flat pack’ building kit that consisted of a wooden framework with corrugated tin cladding on the outside. When John Howard died in 1902, the tower and clock were added in his memory.
The Hall was soon in regular use not only for church services and Sunday School but also for social events and group meetings. Mrs Constance Howard continued to be a very active supporter of the Church. When she died in 1928, three stained glass windows featuring angels were installed in the Chancel in her memory.
By the mid 50s, Church services declined, but the Hall was still used by local groups and for community events such as Whist and Beetle Drives.
Although the ‘Tin Church’ legally belonged to the Church of England, most of the local residents felt that it belonged to them and wished it to be turned into a village hall. In 1994, the Administrative Trustees at St Mary’s relinquished their duties and responsibility for the Church Rooms fell to the Winchester Diocese. It was with them that the ‘Save Bartley Church Rooms’ Committee began to work to find a solution.
On 15th May 1997, the Bartley Village Hall Charitable Trust was registered to buy and run the ‘Tin Church’ as a community hall and on 13th May 1998, the Bartley Village Hall Charitable Trust bought the ‘Tin Church’ for £10,000.
Planning was given for refurbishment and grants were received from the National Lottery, 21st Century Halls for the Millennium Fund, Hampshire County Council, New Forest District Council, Netly Marsh Parish Council and the Rural Development Commission.
As much of the original material and features as possible were kept. A new extension was added at the front to house toilets and a new kitchen replaced the old vestry. Many of the local residents spent many hours helping where they could with the project which was completed October 1999.
Bartley Village Hall was officially opened one month later on November 12th. The ceremony was presided over by local resident, Millvina Dean, who was the youngest survivor of the sinking of the Titanic and Laura Giddings who had survived a restaurant bombing in South Africa the previous year.