MAIDEN BRADLEY VILLAGE HALL was erected in 1911 by Lord Ernest St Maur in memory of his brother Percy. Building work was carried out by Messrs White of Corsey.
The committee formed to run the Hall was chaired by the Estate Agent, all other Officers were employed on the Estate, other Committee members were drawn from other organisations in the village.
LIGHTING – The hall was lit by acetylene gas. The plant was housed in a shed at the rear of the hall and fed through copper pipes to the lights in the building, the pipes were concealed in the walls and the ceiling. All the ante-rooms, kitchen and toilets had adequate lighting. There were also 2 lanterns on the front porch.
HEATING The hall was heated by 2 large open fireplaces using coal and logs.
FIRE PRECAUTION The main water supply was taken into the hall to a hydrant housed in a recess that had been built into the wall of the main building. Fire hoses were stored in this recess which had glass doors. This equipment was regularly serviced by the estate plumber and from time to time estate workers were taken to the hall for fire drill.
EQUPMENT The hall was equipped with 80 wooden chairs and a full set of china – cups and saucers, plates and soup dishes etc. A stage, and blue velvet curtains for the stage.
DURING the 1914/18 war the hall was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers. Susan Duchess of Somerset was very much involved with this project both with working for the effort and providing finance. The inscriptions that are painted on the walls beneath the ceiling were done by a Belgian soldier who was convalescing in the hall at that time. To provide more heat in the hall during the time it was being used as a hospital a large stove was installed in the middle of the hall. Baths were also put in during this period. After the war village people could go to the hall on Saturdays with their towels and have a bath for 4 pence.
THE HALL GARDENS were used as a nursery for young trees by the Estate Forestry Department.
After the war the hall was completely redecorated by the estate staff.
IN 1938 ELECTRICITY WAS INSTALLED in the hall. This was the end of the gas lighting which now had to be taken out
The hall was again commandeered by the military during the Second World War. Cookhouses, shower rooms and storage huts were built at the rear of the hall and were used throughout the duration of the war. When the hall was handed back after the war and compensation was paid a lot of redecorating was needed and the compensation received was not enough to pay for the decorating. Lots of the chairs were missing and had to be replaced before the hall could be let again. The committee worked hard and raised money to buy new chairs and replace some of the crockery.
DURING the 1950s overhead electric heating was installed thus doing away with the open fires which were now covered in. The hall was now being booked by lots of organisations – Dancing Club, Bingo Club, Youth Club and many others.
In 1955 negotiations started re the estate handing over the hall to the existing committee members who would then be trustees. This was completed in I956. More bookings were now coming in and car parking was becoming a problem, on a number of occasions when events were held in the hall cars were parked nearly the whole length of the High Street, after having complaints from the police we obtained planning permission to turn the hall gardens into a car park. This was done by voluntary labour, the only expenses incurred was for quarry stone, scalpings, entrance gates and fencing.
JUBILEE ROOM – Our next project was to build the Jubilee Room, the reason for an additional room was to have a smaller and warmer room to accommodate meetings etc of up to approx 20 persons. Plans were passed and work started, clearing the site and digging foundations all done by committee members and other voluntary helpers. A local building contractor did most of the work and the room was finished and opened in I977. Our local Fundraising Committee was still working hard to get more money to cover this expense but there was a shortfall of £1,200 when all the accounts were in. We were however able to clear this amount when one of the Trustees offered an interest-free loan of £I,200 which we were able to repay within a year.
The last meeting of the ‘Old’ Village Hall committee was held on the 21st October 1982 and the same evening a Public Meeting was held to elect a new committee, to be known as