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Object Of The Week : V is for Village Hall

Monday 19 October 2020

Whilst the Museum is closed and our collections unable to be seen by visitors, we have created a weekly virtual museum with an Object of the Week feature from our collections.

Object of the Week : V is for Village Hall

Housed on the site that was the much loved Village Hall, the Museum has close links with this building which played a big part in community history and local memories.  We have a collection of photos of the Village Hall on our archive database.  We always welcome more photos for our collections, so please do share if you can.

The 'Village Hall' known as the Church Hall, was opened next to All Saints Parish Church on Friday 2nd February 1926.  The following afternoon a whist drive took place followed by a public dance with the 'Pogo' orchestra of banjo, piano, violin and cello. On Sunday the hall was welcomed for use by the Sunday school. Thus began an extension of the social life of the growing village of Borehamwood.

The prefabricated corrugated iron structure of the Hall was inspired by the social hall belonging to the Wellington and Ward photographic factory in Shenley Road (known as the Dufay Hall when that firm had the premises.) The 1920s saw the era of ‘Tin Tabernacles’ made of this metal, which resisted bending.

By 1936 arrangements were completed for the erection behind the Village Hall of the new brick built Sunday School Hall. During World War II the Village Hall, because of the central position, was requisitioned for government use. In the early War years it was an A.R.P. Post and ambulance station, also used in liaison with Police and Fire Services and local Hospitals, and with public utilities for water, gas and electricity.  From 1943 the Village Hall did service as a ‘British Restaurant’ run by the government at subsidised rates, providing lunchtime meals, (ration book free ) for one shilling. Along with these activities, on Saturday afternoons the Hall was transformed for evening dances; a welcome social event for Servicemen and women based in the area mixing with local people.

In the 1950s both the Village Hall and the Sunday school hall were being used for a great deal of community and church related activities, meetings, dances, Easter and Christmas bazaars, The May Festival, Scouts and Guides, jumble sales, plays, film shows, exhibitions, cage bird shows, garden show, whist drives, annual dinners, talks, concerts etc. An interesting record of diversity.  A weekly ‘flea’ market thrived until it closed down. Blood donation sessions were held there as well on a regular basis. In the late 1950s and early 1960s ‘Lucky’ Parkinson promoted Rock & Roll shows in The Hall, and the likes of Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages, The Brook Brothers and Johnny Kidd & The Pirates would shake the foundations.

During the mid 1990s, a working party was set up with All Saints Church liaising with the Trustees to look into the future of the halls. One idea was to demolish the front hall, remove the wooden pews from the church and use the church space as a multi purpose facility for the community.  However, by this time the front hall had become rather dilapidated and despite a makeover it remained in a poor state. Yet the hall, being in such a central location was a much loved and missed feature of the village.

By October 2008 plans were prepared for the new community hall. This was to be a building of substance, balancing All Saints church itself, rising a storey above nearby shopping premises. The Library was to be accommodated with the inclusion of the Local museum and various meeting halls and rooms.  The multi functional community building of 96 Shenley Road opened in 2013.




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