Catherine

de Barnes

Village

Village Hall comp 2015
DSC_0006crop2

History of the Hall

In 1879 Joseph Gillott, a wealthy pen maufacturer living at Berry Hall, paid for the building of a "school and chapel" and paid for the upkeep and running of the building and the salary of the schoolmistress. He permitted its use for "Divine services of the Church of England", on Sundays and on Christmas Day; the chapel was an ancillary part of the school (the building was not a church). Joseph Gillott was concerned to provide the children of the district with a more convenient school than either Hampton-in-Arden or Solihull. He also saw the benefit of providing local people, many of whom worked for him or lived on his land, with their own chapel.

Following his death in 1903, his entire estate, including the school, was sold by auction on June 6th 1904. The "school house and chapel" were purchased by a group of his trustees for about £400 and a Conveyance and Declaration of Trust was drawn up, dated 4th March 1905. Included in the trust documents were the words "in perpetutity" and its use for "Classes and Meetings". These original Trustees were his friends who raised the money to buy the building for the benefit of the local people. The school was subsequently maintained and the staff paid by Warwickshire County Council.

In 1937 the Charity Commision transferred the administration and management of the property to the Church of England. The school closed in 1974 and a Charitable Trust dated 17th March 1983 dealt with continued use of the building for other charitable purposes. For over 130 years the Sunday services were taken by members of the St. Alphege clergy and until recently were held every Sunday. The chapel has also been used for baptisms and funerals. Due to falling numbers the services were reduced to one a month in May 2007 and the last service was held on Sunday, 20th June 2010.

Following the closure of the school in 1974, the premises have been maintained, repaired and improved with funds from a variety of sources; local church members, the Village Fete committee, the Residents' Association and others including grants from Birmingham Airport. Other funds have come from letting the building for educational and community use. The income from its use covered all the running costs (heating, lighting, cleaning, maintenance, etc.). All of the chapel furnishings have been paid for locally, including the War Memorial; a carved oak font with brass plaques recording the dead of the two World wars.

As the Church no longer provides worship at the Hall they have agreed to transfer the running of the Hall to local residents. A group of village trustees has been appointed to run the Hall and operate it in the interests of and for the use of the community.

...