This Day In 1958 - Day They’ve Awaited For 23 Years


11th April 2011

Maiden Newton’s New Hall Opens Tomorrow

All this week volunteer workers have been putting finishing touches to the new village hall at Maiden Newton ready for the official opening tomorrow. It will be a day for which people of Maiden Newton have been waiting for 23 years.

It was back in 1935 that villagers first decided to build a hall. They had just reached the stage of considering plans when the war came in 1939 and throughout the next six dark years all money raising activities were devoted to the war effort.

With the coming of peace, out came the village hall plans again and once more efforts switched to raising funds. But as fast as money was made, building costs went up.

Eventually, a public meeting decided that it was time something definite was done. By then, about £1,700 had been raised locally. The committee went ahead and obtained a grant of one-third of the cost from the Ministry of Education.

Guaranteed Loan

Then they arranged a loan from the National Council of Social Service which has been guaranteed by 25 local people to the extent of £40 or more each.

Still about £500 short of the target, the committee decided to prune the specifications for the hall. They dispensed with a hot water system and eliminated plans for a stage for the time being. And, to cut the costs still further, a volunteer labour force was organised to carry out all the decorations.

Members of the committee and other helpers turned out with paint and brushes and aided by a number of older schoolboys have made an excellent job of decorating. The decoration scheme has been set off by the curtains made by Mrs S. Cant and lady helpers. For furnishings, 120 chairs have been purchased so far.

Building of the hall, which measures 50ft by 30ft, began in late autumn. It is of brick construction on a steel frame and has a wood block floor. The accommodation includes a kitchen, toilet, large vestibule and cloak-room

Land was a Gift

The hall stands on a piece of land, donated by Messrs United Dairies Ltd near Maiden Newton railway station.

Plans were to the design of Mr Reginald Stovell, of Compton Valance.
The hall committee, numbering about 18, represent every organisation in the village. Chairman is Mr W Fry, who has been associated with the project since it began. Treasurer is Mr Anthony Holland, of Frome Vauchurch and the secretary Dr A E K Salvi. Funds have been raised by whist drives, garden fetes and other events and by individual donations.

Inspection Day

There will be no formal ceremony tomorrow, but the doors will be open from 3.30 to 5.30 pm so that local people may come and inspect “their” hall.

A film show is being provided by the Education Department of Dorset County Council and at 8 pm there will be a dance.

One of the opening day events will be a presentation to Canon D F Slemeck and Mrs Slemeck. Canon Slemeck was Rector of Maiden Newton for 20 years until his recent retirement, and had long been associated with the village hall project.

[From the Dorset Echo 11-04-1958]

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