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Littleton & Harestock Memorial Hall - History

The Hallway, Littleton, Winchester, SO22 6QL

The Old and the New

A few years after the end of the First World War, the decision was taken to build a new village hall in Littleton. It was to be dedicated to the memory of the men from the Parish who had died in the war. A fundraising committee was formed and as a result of their efforts the Littleton Memorial Hall was opened for use in October 1923. However, it took a further three years of fundraising before the Committee was able to hand the building over to the Parish Council, free of debt, to be maintained for the community in perpetuity.

At the presentation ceremony the chairman of the fund-raising committee the Rev. E. V. Tanner MC said,

"We want it to be looked after in such a way that 50, 100, 200 years hence it will still be here - not the actual material that we see before us now, but still the same hall - a standing memorial for all time, a glorious page in history."

Over the years the hall provided a focus for much of the social, cultural and political life of the village. But as the population of the Parish grew, particularly with the construction of the Harestock estate in the 1960's, it became evident that despite improvements made by Parish Councils through the years, the hall was no longer adequate for the needs of a community on the threshold of the 21st century.

In February 1994 a questionnaire was circulated to all current hall users, to establish their views on how the hall facility should be improved. At the same time the Village Hall Adviser for Hampshire was consulted and it became clear that the Parish Council was not eligible for the major Local Authority grants available within the county. If the hall was to be significantly enlarged or replaced it would have to be handed over to a charitable Trust. At the Annual Parish Meeting in 1994 it was agreed to form a Working Party to investigate the feasibility of replacing the hall. The Working Party's findings were reported to the Parish Council in November 1994.

At a public meeting in February 1995 the decision was taken to build a new hall and a fundraising committee was established. The Littleton & Harestock New Memorial Hall trust was granted charitable status at the beginning of April 1995 and six trustees were nominated to co-ordinate the fundraising activities and oversee the planning, building and commissioning of the new hall.

Several rounds of public consultation, including the setting-up of individual working parties to discuss the community's requirements with regard to kitchen and general equipment, storage and specialist facilities for amateur dramatics, ensured that the new building would meet the needs of the people who would be using it.

New Hall

Construction of the new building began in July 1998 and was completed on the 24th February 1999 when it was handed over to the Trustees. The first event to take place within the hall was a professional production of Macbeth, given by the Forest Forge Theatre Company, which played to a capacity audience on the evening of the 19th March.

The Official Opening took place on Saturday, 15 May, 1999.

The New Hall is a well equipped and flexible building, and is the venue for a wide range of activities from yoga to plays and dance classes to concerts.

Old Hall

Demolition of the original Memorial Hall started at the beginning of April 1999, following a public decommissioning ceremony during which World War memorabilia, including photographs of the five men who lost their lives in the 1914-18 war and in whose honour the old hall was erected, were re-installed in the foyer of the new building.

Commemorative Sculpture

The trustees decided that a Commemorative Sculpture, on the theme of remembrance and celebrating the new millennium should be commissioned to stand outside the new building.

What did it cost and where did the money come from?

Although the cost of the project is at present still not finalised, finances have been well controlled and it is envisaged that the final cost of the project will be within 1% of the 430,000 estimated in June 1998. This additional 1% has been raised by further local fundraising.

The Trustees were forceful and fortunate in pursuing substantial grants towards the building fund. In particular, a successful application to the Millennium Commission yielded a contribution of 194,000. The Parish Council has been highly supportive of the rebuilding project, both in terms of granting a lease of land and in voting grants totalling 72,500. A grant of 37,500 was received from Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council contributed a further 12,500. Smaller awards were made by the Pyke Trust (2,000) and the Hampshire Association of Parish Councils (750). The energetic and imaginative activities of the fundraising committee and others within the community over the past four years have added a staggering 109,000 to ensure that the hall has been built to the highest specification.

The pie chart illustrates the sources of the funding of the project. It demonstrates that the Trustees have succeeded in their aim to emulate the fundraising committee of the first Littleton Memorial Hail by presenting the people of Littleton & Harestock with a village hail which is free of debt. On behalf of the community of Littleton & Harestock, the Trustees would like to record their gratitude to all authorities, organisations, and individuals who have contributed to the building fund.





Littleton & Harestock Website 2015