(Click photos to enlarge)

Built in 1940 during World War II as an Agricultural Workers Hostel for Land Army Girls but was also used to house Italian prisoners of war, then later German prisoners. The part wooden / part brick structure was fully equipped with dormitories, washrooms, kitchen, dining room and recreation area, and halls. An architect's drawing of the layout is still available.  There was also humble accommodation at the rear for a caretaker. The kitchen at the back of the complex was later used to cook meals for the school children from Shurdington Primary who daily walked to the hall for lunch.

With the expansion of the village in the late 60s the existing Village Hall in Church Lane became far too small, and Cheltenham RDC offered the village the former World War II Hostel. This consisted of a T-shaped building (see architects drawing), with the bar of the 'T' facing the village green.

The left-hand block contained the toilets and boiler house (the high structure). The right-hand wing was of wooden construction. Beyond the entrance door the brick building contained the kitchen and dining area, later used as a meeting hall. A small re-enforced concrete structure was added to the right side of the dining hall later. This was used as a billiard room, and a permanent meeting place for the Child Health Clinic.  The billiard room ended its days as a store room and tearoom for the builders during Phase 1 of the redevelopment (the building of the Century Hall).

A Management Committee was formed from residents in the village to run the new premises, known as Shurdington Social Centre. This has charitable status as Charity No. 269577.  Certain village organisations which use the premises regularly have a right to nominate members to the committee. Other members are nominated from the floor at the AGM. 

The committee's remit, as defined in the Conveyance and Trust Deed dated 1st October 1964, is to 'hold the property upon trust for the purposes of a Village Hall for the use of the inhabitants of Shurdington and the neighbourhood (hereinafter called the "area of benefit") with distinction of sex or of political religious or other opinions and in particular for use for meetings lectures and classes and for other forms of recreation and leisure time occupation with the object of improving the conditions for the said inhabitants'.

The original Village Hall site in Church Lane was sold off for housing development and the proceeds invested in the 'Village Hall Trust Fund' of the Parish Council are the trustees. The Social Centre Management Committee can call upon the income from the trust fund to help with building maintenance of the Social Centre. Because of this relic of the original Village Hall the Charity Commissioners will not authorise the Committee to rename the Social Centre the 'Village Hall'.  The Charity Commissioners, however, agreed to 15,000 of the capital from this fund being made available for the Phase 1 rebuilding programme. 

Groundwork started in November 1988 under the direction of Mr Ron West and because of difficulties in engaging sub-contractors it was to be November 1992 before the wooden hall could be demolished and the new hall brought into use. Incidentally the wooden structure, even after 50 years standing, was sufficiently sound to be re-erected at Brimpsfield for agricultural use! The capital cost of this new hall was c110,000, raised mainly by local fund raisers to the tune of c43,000 local authorities for c28,000 and grant making trusts for c17,000. It was formally opened by Mr
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown M.P. assisted by the Mayor of Tewkesbury Derek Davies, at the village gala day on Saturday 30th April 1994.


Being written....

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The old wooden hut with the new hall rising behind.

The rear of the main hall, with the new behind. The Old & The New
Social Centres.
The old Caretaker's flat in the rear of the old hall.

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Entrance to the flat used as
Scout & Guide Hut.
Field & Water Tower. Old water tower, toilet block and store rooms. The rear of the old hall showing the cycle shed.

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The old tiny Scout Hut, in the caretaker's flat... ...measuring some 20ft square being demolished. The front wooden main hall. The front wooden main hall, showing the stage.

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The rear hall used by Scouts and Playgroup which was.. ...dormitory used by Land Army Girls, and school diner. The old kitchen in the rear of the centre. Scouts meeting in the tiny Caretaker' flat. (Sin Bin / Toilet on the left)


Copyright P Calleja-Gera 2001: All rights reserved.