Village Hall History
The original Village Hall - known as the Village Institute - was built just after the First World War in 1919. It was a timber building and provided a centre for the social life of the village for over 50 years.
Maintenance and upkeep were a constant concern. Roof and wall repairs, concreting the verandah, distempering the walls and repairing the stove all featured regularly on the committee agenda. In 1932, after the village School had closed, an attempt was made to convert the School (pictured to the left of the Institute) to a Parish Hall but at the time the village did not want to lose the School and hoped that it could be reopened. By 1958 the School was for sale and it was agreed that the Institute would attempt to buy it. The asking price of £150, however, proved too high.
In 1967 the Institute became a registered charity - and its name was changed to the Village Hall - but the condition of the building was causing concern. Following a County Architect report it was agreed that the rear section of the hall containing the kitchen and stores should be demolished. A concrete structure would then be erected to act as a kitchen. An estimate of around £170 was accepted and village volunteers prepared the footings and laid the foundations.
In 1978, following two adverse architect reports, a village meeting reluctantly voted to demolish the wooden part of the building. The new concrete kitchen would become a meeting room and venue for small events, and fundraising possibilities for a new building would be explored.
The provision of a new building did not prove possible and, in 1983, an extension to the concrete kitchen was added to provide toilets, a cloakroom and storeroom. A grant of £118 from Melton Borough Council was obtained. Over the years window frames were replaced, various painting took place and curtains were made.
In 1995 environmental issues were coming to the fore and the Parish Council agreed to recycling bins being sited at the front of the hall. Once household recycling had become established the bins were no longer required and they were removed in 2013.
A new committee was formed in 2011. An energetic programme of social events ensued. This raised much-needed funds and demonstrated the widespread enthusiasm and support for a new hall.
In 2014, following a lengthy application process, a Lottery grant was obtained to build a new hall.
Most of this information has been reproduced from 'Aspects of Eastwell', Eastwell Local History Group, 2nd edition 2011 (originally published 2001)