The Guarlford Story
The Village Hall
According to Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), a national charity whose purpose is to support sustainable rural community development, there are currently about 9000 village halls in rural England. The presence of halls in villages seems to have evolved without any set pattern; some were, and still are, church halls and some were built as Memorial Halls after the two World Wars. They all vary considerably in style, size and usage, depending largely on the population and degree of isolation of their supporting communities, as well as the existence or not of nearby alternative venues and attractions. Prior to the second half of the twentieth century, they were, in general, well used and for many people, because of lack of transport, provided the only social venue suitable for all the family.
The advent of motorised public transport in the early twentieth century would have widened the horizons of some villagers; but it was not until well after the Second World War that car ownership became widespread and gave ordinary families the opportunity to look further afield for their leisure activities. Consequently, the village hall became less important to them. In Guarlford, prior to 1922, the school was used as the venue for social events such as the annual Christmas pantomime. This chapter tells the story of how a small group of enthusiasts converted part of a disused malt house into a village hall and how, over the years since then, the hall has been improved . . .