Our much treasured Village Hall held its first meeting in January 1923 and celebrated its hundredth anniversary in 2023.

We believe our Village Hall started out in life as a Recruiting Centre for First World War soldiers. As you travel about Essex and Suffolk you may still see similar buildings. Local people lost in the First and Second World Wars are commemorated inside the Hall, and their family names are well-known. Some families still live in this area.

The Hall was originally divided into two and the dividing rail can still be seen. On one side the Mens’ Social Club met until late in 1938. The other side was used by the Womens’ Institute, who still meet here and have a very active group.

Everything changed at the outset of the Second World War. An application from the local Billeting Officer for use in an Evacuation Scheme was granted.

By 1939 the Hall was used as an Air Wardens Post, and a year later as a First Aid Post. It was also used for the local school dental clinic.

In 1941 soldiers were billeted in the Hall for 7 – 10 days. That year the Village Hall Committee considered making the Hall available for recreation for soldiers, especially the use of a billiard table, which seems to have been very welcome. Dances were also held twice a week for soldiers and local residents.

That year the Committee also gave permission for the army to use the hall as a canteen. Estimates were obtained for laying on water to the Hall, which was achieved by the end of 1941. Electricity had been installed as long ago as 1933.

The Womens Voluntary Service ran a canteen for soldiers on Sundays and Wednesdays. The wartime Jam Making Committee considered using the Hall but thought it would not meet their requirements.

Then, quite suddenly, for reasons we do not know because the war continued, the Air Raid Warden stopped using the Hall for his post and in September 1942 soldiers left the district.


Other uses for the Hall followed swiftly. A new Mens Club started, the Home Guard also moved in. The County Library founded a branch along with the Mothers Union. Whist Drives, fetes and other entertainments were regularly held. Soon the head teachers of two local schools asked to hire the Hall for physical training. Even cinemas shows were held. Dr. MacKinnon used the Hall for a surgery twice a week. After an absence since 1929 the Womens’ Institute reformed in 1948 and put on a play to raise money for the Hall.

Many good and worthy residents have put themselves forward to serve on the Village Hall Committees during the last hundred years. Perhaps the most notable was Fred Sparkes who became caretaker in 1944 and held the post for 47 years. There is a plaque in the front porch to recognise him. More recently, Jim Taylor acted as Chairman until 2019 and his estate donated the flagpole outside the Hall in his memory.