The Village Hall


Rampton Village Hall Management Quiz Night.

Friday, 2nd September 2011, 7.30pm.

Teams of up to 6 people. Entry £2 per person

Bring your own refreshments. Raffle to be held.

Photographs, unless otherwise credited, kind courtesy Rampton Village Hall Management Committee (RVHMC)
The New Village Hall in 2005

The Village Hall in 2004

The Village Hall c. 1965

Three next pictures of the RVHMC and guests at the 50th Anniversary Party, 5th December 2009 (Ed.)

Cutting the Anniversary Cake

Village Hall Committee at the 50th Anniversary Dinner

The Village Hall prepared for the Over 60’s Dinner (Photo below) kind courtesy Dave Turner

The Hall interior – transformed by the hard work of the Best family for a family wedding of Viki and Graham. The website is grateful to Owen & Amanda for these pictures:

Rampton Village Hall: A Brief History

Until 1959 the only common meeting place in the Village was the small village school and it is probable that, but for the 1939-45 war a hall would have been built earlier. The records start in 1946 and reading the old minute books you would be hard pressed to find a village family that wasn’t involved in one way or another.The late Miss J B Delmer-Price, a London Furrier, who then lived in the village, generously donated a piece of land at Church End as a site for a hall. This was finally conveyed to Chesterton Rural District Council as Trustees in early 1951, and was later passed over to the Parish Council. The Deed of Trust provided that:

The land, together with the buildings erected thereon, shall be held upon trust for the purpose of physical and mental training and recreation and social moral and intellectual development through the medium of reading and recreation rooms, library, lectures, classes, recreations and entertainments or otherwise as may be found expedient for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish of Rampton without distinction of sex or of political, religious or other opinions.

Various village organisations started raising funds and in 1953 were combined into a Rampton Village Hall Fund Committee, with the late Mr Alf Young as chairman, based on the Coronation Committee, with funds increased by £100 left over from the local Home Guard funds. By November 1955, a second-hand prefabricated hut was bought and assembled on the site, the foundations having been built by villagers. At this point, having achieved its objective, the Committee disbanded and a Parish Meeting elected a Village Hall Building Committee with the late Mr Bill Reader as Chairman and gave them the task of then raising the money needed and completing the skeleton hall for use.

From January 1956, until September 1959, this Committee operated from hand to mouth, purchasing materials and furnishings as money became available from whist drives, market stalls, dances, etc., arranging for water and electricity to be laid on, mobilising voluntary labour to dig drains, lay floors and paths, decorate and install wiring hiring professional labour only when necessary. The minutes of their frequent meetings reveal all the complications that arose and just how much time members and other residents devoted to the task. At last the Hall was passed as suitable for use by the public with toilet and catering facilities built on to the front of the original hut. Now a new Management Committee was formed in accordance with the terms of the Trust Deed, with Bill Reader still in the Chair (he remained chairman until 1979) and representatives of each village organisation. The Hall was officially opened on 5th December 1959.

During the next five years the Hall was improved with a Government grant by laying a parquet floor (cost £250!) and putting in a stage (£25!). The need for further improvements was kept in mind as time went on but income was just sufficient to. cover costs and provide a modest reserve for repairs and redecorations, much as it is today.

The chance to establish an improvement fund arose in 1977 when the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Committee (now the ’77 Committee) donated £123 from the proceeds of the Jubilee celebrations. A call went out to the village to get ideas as to what improvements were needed and a practicability study was made. By the beginning of 1979 dances organised by Arthur Bonus (by then Chairman of the Hall Committee) and his friends and donations from the Anglo-German association and the Friday Club added to the funds. Work on Phase 1 of this work (new toilets and cloakroom) was completed in 1981 with Phase 2 (kitchen and committee room) in 1983.

By 1986 the main part of the Hall, an ex MOD prefab was showing signs of distress. Remedial work included acro props to hold up the roof, but a more serious remedy was needed. With a combination of grants and fundraising the main Hall was rebuilt at a cost of about £38,000. The front and side areas were retained and the new larger Hall reopened in 1990.

This gave the village a community facility it could be proud of, but by the early 2000s the front of the Hall (at nearly 50 years old the oldest standing part) was beginning to show its age. Damp was getting in and a large crack in the front wall of the main Hall expanded over a series of dry summers, giving concern for the structural soundness. Under Arthur Bonus’ chairmanship plans were drawn up for a new front and planning permission granted, again the village was consulted on what was required. Then began the long process of raising the money. Grants were secured from the Parish Council, South Cambs. District Council and WREN. The balance was raised over the course of several years by Village Hall fundraisers and donations. This work rebuilt the front providing a spacious foyer area, a secure cloakroom and chair store (freeing up the committee room as a usable space) cupboard space with a modern efficient water heater and, very importantly, allowed single level access throughout the Hall and provided an accessible toilet and a hearing loop. The cracked front wall of the man Hall was also replaced.

Since the last main phase of works, completed and the Hall reopened in 2005, small grants have been obtained to replace the 25 year old flat roof over the toilets and kitchen, and to replace the chairs. The main targets now in our sights are to replace the kitchen fittings, upgrade the flooring in the kitchen and immediately outside and find a more efficient, cost effective and pleasant means of heating and lighting the main Hall. Fundraising and applying for grants goes on!

The Hall continues to break even on its running costs, and we continue to fund raise for the Improvement Fund. Despite any rumours to the contrary the Hall is independent and self-sufficient with no regular money from the Parish Council. We continue, as the Hall has always done, to rely on the hard work and generosity of villagers. There are few other communities in the country with such a small population who can boast such a fine community facility.

We will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the official opening on the 5th of December 2009 at 7pm in Rampton Village Hall.

Alison Dickens, Rampton Village Hall Chairwoman (Nov 2009)

The first part of this history (covering 1946-1983) is drawn from an article by the late Bill Hoather published in the “Rampton Roundabout” in November 1983.