Our Village Hall
In 1957 electricity had only recently come to the village, so nearing the completion of the hall, electricity was installed, which provided heating and lighting for the new hall, which was a real boon
After the second world war, a meeting was held to discuss a memorial for the men and women who left this small parish, to serve in the two world wars and to the 12 men who didn’t come back. Since 1924, a wooden hut in Barrow Lane, between St Johns church and the school, had served as the social centre, for the local community. Repaired and preserved over the years, it was obvious something more substantial would be preferable. The general feeling in the village was that as a memorial, a new village hall should be built.
The first meeting was held at Roundhill Grange on Monday 15th November 1945. Sir Christopher Lighton being chairman of a recent parish meeting gave a brief explanation of the work required by a committee. Sir Christopher Lighton got things off to a good start, when he donated a site of almost one acre, off the approach to Shalford Lane. The task of raising money began by holding dances, whist drives, skittles, jumble sales and bring and buy sales. Tractor racing and cart horse racing also raised funds. Prize draws were held, which included contributions of port, stockings, cigarettes, tea bags, eggs and sugar. These were most welcome prizes, after the rationing during the war.
In 1954, the government ban on the issue of building licenses for village halls, was still in force and the committee didn’t know when this was likely to be lifted. This was most unfortunate, particularly as a large sum of money had already been spent on architects fees . The building had to be postponed indefinitely, even though the plans had been approved, because of the ban on licenses and grants. By 1957, these bans had been lifted and Bayford Builders of Wincanton was given the contract to build the hall, at a cost of £2,692 3s and 3d. The redwood 1 inch block flooring cost an additional £255,9s 0d . Electricity had only recently come to the village, so nearing the completion of the hall, electricity was installed, which provided heating and lighting for the new hall, which was a real boon. The electrical installation was carried out by L Lane Ltd, of Wincanton.
After 12 years of sustained effort by an energetic body of local residents, the hall was finally opened on Febuary 18th 1958. The opening ceremony was performed by Mrs Percy Wright of Roundhill Grange, wife of the present chairman, who said it was undoubtedly a great day for the parish. Mrs Wright went on to congratulate all concerned on a remarkable feat. She continued by saying that it was a hall worthy of it’s name and built as it was, in memory of those who served in the two world wars and the 12 men who gave their lives, we could not have any better memorial. It is one which will be of lasting benefit to the parish and one which all of the villagers and many people from outside will enjoy for a long time to come. Mrs Wright pointed out that the hall site was donated by Sir Christopher Lighton, when living at Roudhill Grange and that this gift had set the ball rolling. Mrs Wright went on to say that it had now come full circle and come back to me at Roundhill, to have the privilege and honour of opening the hall. On behalf of the committee, Mrs Osbome presented a bouquet to Mrs Wright as a token of their appreciation for her help and kindness.
The annual meeting of the Charlton Musgrove Memorial Hall committee was held in the new hall for the first time with Colonel Wright in the chair, on Monday 19th May 1958. The Chairman in his opening remarks expressed how much pleasure it had given him and the committee to hold the meeting in the new Memorial Hall and commented on the successful opening ceremony. Colonel Wright then dealt with the financial report, which showed that the sum of £3,548,3s 6d had been spent on the building, furnishings, equipment and the laying of the car park. The money raised to build the hall was met by a grant from the Ministry of Education, from the sale of the old wooden village hall to Buckhorn Weston and many fund raising events.
After 50 years in 2008 a committee has been formed to modernise the Memorial Hall Village. Two of the residents of the origonal hall committee still live in the village.
Many thanks to Claude Teague for resarching this history