(September 2023) Did you know? – The Village Hall

A group of people playing in a grassy field
Family fun at Jubilee sports. Photo by Barbara Foster for the Sibfords Calendar 2023 (August).

The two Village Calendar photographs this month cover August and September and were taken by Barbara Foster and Maureen Hicks respectively. They were sponsored by Ann Woolgrove whose village business makes Custom Made Furnishings. Both pictures celebrate the grounds of the Village Hall which provide an outdoor amenity space come Rain or Shine! The August picture shows village families enjoying the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations while the September picture features the hardy souls who were determined to meet, despite the heavy rain, for Jazz in the Field once Covid restrictions were lifted and we could meet together again with friends. 

A group of lawn chairs sitting on top of a grass covered field
Jazz in Village Hall field. Photo by Maureen Hicks for the Sibfords Calendar 2023 (September).

On the death of Frank Lascelles in 1934 villagers discovered that the Village Hall did not belong to them but was heavily mortgaged to Lascelles’s estate. A committee under the chairmanship of Mr M R Lamb was set up to try to save the hall for the village but this failed so a fund was set up in the late 193os for a new village hall. The old hall was rented from the mortgagees and activities continued throughout WW2 with all proceeds going into the new hall fund. In 1947 the hall was demolished by Lascelles’s estate creditors and Sibford was left without a village hall for 10 years. Some of the money raised was used by the Trustees to buy an acre of land within a field opposite the church. During the Korean War in the early 1950s all grant funding for community projects ceased but in 1954, under the chairmanship of Reginald Rowntree, and following an open village meeting, it was agreed to commission architects Orrel H Nuttall and Lucas to design a brick-built hall for community use. With some self-build help, the fine new Village Hall and grounds were opened in 1957 at a cost of some £275,000 in today’s values. 

In 1998 the Playgroup pressed the Village Hall Trustees for separate accommodation. The brief was ‘To build an extension to the Village Hall and to alter the exis9ng building with a view to improving the kitchen facili9es, general storage space, and provide a centre for pre-school children’. The extension and hall improvements were opened in 2002. Since then, improvements have continued providing better insulation, eco-lighting and redecoration. We are indeed fortunate that due to the stewardship of the Trustees since 1939 we have a first-rate facility for all users.

Maureen Hicks