Normandy Village Hall
- Normandy's original Village Hall.
Few would deny that the gift made by Lady Louisa
Roberts in 1921 would play the role that it undoubtedly has in sustaining
the community life of the village. The humbleness of that original building
was, at that time, in direct contrast to that of the Victoria Hall, Ash
and the Memorial Hall, Worplesdon. A booklet published by the authority
of the Village Hall Committee in September 1932, entitled "Notes on
Normandy Village Hall", provides a very clear picture of the extent
to which the hall had been used from 1921. It demonstrated also the number
of affiliated user groups, hire charges and the manner in which the regular
users not only paid for its use but also donated their surplus funds back
into the general funds of the hall. Edward S Hose, a trustee and manager
of the hall compiled the notes for the booklet. The purpose of the booklet
was to raise money towards the cost of reconstructing the stage and Proscenium,
estimated at £45, as a memorial to Theophilus A Allen a founder Trustee,
Secretary and Treasurer, who had taken a prominent part in effecting Lady
Roberts' benefaction. The initial sales of the booklet in December 1932
raised £1.2s.0d. Further sales were made at the opening of the new
stage and the drawing of the new curtains, made by the Co-operative Society,
for the commemorative play by the Normandy Amateur Dramatic Club.
From time to time essential repairs, improvements
and modifications have been made to the building to keep pace with changing
needs and mandatory requirements. Some costs have been met from hire charges
but that of major works has generally exceeded such income and the Managers
have had to promote special fund raising events. These include fetes started
in 1925, weekly whist drives and dances, the Normandy Festivals started
in 1966, the Fun Runs in 1984 and the 100 club formed in 1986. Since 1960,
some financial assistance has been secured by grants from outside bodies
including the borough and parish councils.
The hall has always been well used, often for
seven days of the week over long periods and with the occasional request
for use beyond midnight. There have been many demands for regular uses that
have had to be refused simply because the hall was fully booked. In 1967
there were 27 active societies and organisations using the hall on a regular
basis. A low profile group using the hall occasionally, firstly in 1946,
has been the Normandy Motor Cycle Club, the present representative of which
is Richard Thomas. Interestingly there was a Normandy Brass Band that faltered
and failed in March 1925 because a replacement percussionist could not be
encouraged to join.
Perhaps not so unusual have been Ministry of
Information film shows between 1944 and 1950 followed by the more popular
current film shows held twice nightly on each Monday until 1953. Surrey
County Council held educational classes between 1944 and 1950. Keep fit
classes were held for the two years 1984 to 1986. An art club first started
in 1965 is still going strong, and recently dog obedience classes were held
for a short time. The list is almost endless. An unusual use of the hall
but one important to many men and women workers of the village, long before
the National Heath Act came into force, was "The Slate Club",
an illness and death benefit fund run by the hall managers between 1939
Despite the fact that in 1921 the original hall
building was second hand and was not a "permanent structure",
it has none the less stood the tests of continual use and the passing of
time. It has provided nearly 80 years of service to the community. In many
ways it has been a "flexible friend". Also it has had its critics.
Successive trustees and managers have considered and resisted pressure to
replace the hall. In 1992/3, for the first time ever, the financial climate
and the acquisition of land was conducive to positive action for relocation.
The Normandy Village Hall Trustees, therefore, joined with the Normandy
Parish Council, Normandy Bowling Club and Guildford Archery Club to form
a partnership to develop the Manor Fruit Farm site for leisure and recreation
In 1997 the Guildford Borough Council, acting
in its capacity as both Planning Authority and owner of the site, finally
approved the proposals of the partnership permitting the Parish Council
to acquire the Head Lease of the land for 125 years and the Hall Trustees
acquired the freehold of their site. Other partners acquired equally long
sub-leases from the Parish Council and in 2001 a start was made on the infrastructure.
During the protracted negotiations between the
Borough Council and the Partnership, which at times was both vigorous and
forceful, the site of the old vacated hall became the focus of attention
of a growing number of prospective purchasers. The site, acquired eventually
by Holmbury Developments of Weston Farm, Albury, now supports a small compact
housing estate, appropriately named "Old Hall Close".
- As the old hall was demolished by McKenna
Demolitions in February 2002, so Wessex Frame Buildings started work on
the new hall at Manor Fruit Farm. John Sherwood, a retired farmer and member
of Normandy Historians, enjoying a second career in woodcraft, recovered
pieces of timber from the old hall, from which he fashioned a Gavel and
Block that he presented to Normandy Historians.
The old hall being demolished
by McKenna Demolitions in February 2002.
The small compact housing estate,
appropriately named "Old Hall Close".
- On the roof of the new hall proudly stands
"Norman" as a weathervane. (for more on "Norman"
and the weathervane Click
Here). Equally and appropriately, the new Normandy Village Hall was
the first "new build" to be completed and opened its doors for
business on Monday
the 17th February 2003. The following day, the 18th February, Normandy
Historians held their Annual General Meeting in the small hall and continue
to meet there for meetings on a regular basis.
Trustees, Managers and guests celebrated the
completion of the new hall with a Gala Opening on the evening of Saturday
the 17th May 2003.
click on poster to see an
- The New Hall at Manor Fruit Farm.
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