Littleton & Harestock Memorial Hall - History
The Hallway, Littleton, Winchester, SO22 6QL
The Old and the New
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.