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West Hallam Village Hall

The Village, West Hallam, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, DE7 6GR


Page 2

Memories by Brenda Parker. Written by Her in February 2019

What is now the Village Hall was purpose built as a girl’s school.

The boys used the school on School Square with a woodwork shop at the bottom of the steps leading up to the playground. It later became the bike shed and later still, a garage.

Originally the girls were taught opposite the church gates, in the building which is now three cottages.  Mr and Mrs Pearson lived there when I was a child.

There was originally a quarry where the village hall now stands, so presumably when they stopped mining the stones, the girls’ school was built.  I have an ancient map showing the quarry there in the mid 1800s.

The boys used part of the rectory gardens to grow vegetables and the mulberry tree there used to provide leaves to feed the silkworms that were kept in the junior school when I was a pupil there. That mulberry was still there when my parents lived at the Dell until 1982.  We used to send the silk worm cocoons off to Macclesfield to be used and a lady used to visit us from the mill to talk to us about the manufacturing of silk.

In the 1940s, all children were educated in the former girls’ school until they were eight, then we all moved up to the boys School for our junior education.

I remember that there was a huge magnificent dolls’ house for us to play with on Friday afternoons when we had free time, in our infant years.  I was fascinated by it and loved all the tiny furniture inside. 

The younger children sat at the far end of the room with a chart of the two times table on the wall in front of them. Nearer the door were two more charts with the three times and four times tables to recite aloud with the other children.  How proud we felt when we were moved to sit nearer the door as it meant we knew our tables by heart.

The toilets were across the yard and were dank dark areas.  We were handed one sheet of hard Izal toilet paper if we asked to be excused. My mum laughed when I asked why we did not have 7 Z doors at home with a hand latch.

The school used red carbolic soap which came in long blocks that were cut into smaller pieces with the coal shovel. Whenever I smell carbolic soap these days it takes me right back to those early school days.

The photo was taken against the wall backing on to the church drive.  In my day, parts of it had disintegrated and provided us with interesting little hidey holes to put little treasures in.  Conkers, acorn cups, snail shells etc were often found in there.

I don’t know why there are little boys on the photo.  Maybe they spent their early months there before going to mix with the bigger boys.

The girls used to have cookery lessons in what is now the village hall kitchen.

When I was there from 1947, an old lady called Mrs Lee was in charge of preparing school dinners.  She always wore black boots buttoned up on her feet and wore a black floor length dress covered by a pristine white pinafore.

Most of the vegetables we ate were grown by the boys at both the junior and senior schools.

Many children complain about school dinners, but I enjoyed what I was given, apart from the treacle tarts which were scattered with coconut.

We used to sing the usual playground games such as Poor Mary sits a-weeping, the farmers in his den, oats and beans and barley grow, in and out the windows etc. Aah happy days 

My sincere thanks to Brenda for the article above and the photo with names below.

West Hallam Girls School 1927 taken in the Village Hall yard

Back Row
Left to right
Kathleen Starbuck - Hilda Pounder – Cissie Martin – Winifred Holland – Lila Flint –
Ivy Eaton – Lily Harris – Mavis Gregory – Doris Bloor.
Centre Row
Left to Right
Hilda Watson – Connie Lee – Sylvia Fletcher – Violet Hartshorne – Kathleen Elliott –
Sylvia Moss – Martha Hart – Audrey Bowley – Winnie Walker
Front Row
Left to Right
Edith Harrison – Mary Pritchett – Glady Wildman? – Elsie Elliott – Edith Harris –
Dickie Thompson –Wallace Harris – Denis Gilman – Alfred Hunt

3Gp Yard
Group in the Girls School (Village Hall) Yard

Just a Few Newspaper Extracts From Newspapers Referring to the Girls School

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal
Friday 04 November 1927

Coming of Age - On Friday evening last about guests (including friends and relations of family) met at the Girls’ School, West Hallam, to celebrate the coming of age of Richard, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Morris. West Hallam Grange. An enjoyable evening was spent in whist and dancing, everyone present thoroughly enjoying themselves.

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal
Friday 18 January 1929
West Hallam

Old Folks’ Party - The joint men’s and ladies’ committees of the West Hallam and Stanley branch of the South Derbyshire Unionist Association, organised a New Year’s party for the old folk of the district at the Girls School, West Hallam, on Friday last. Forty old folk were conveyed by motor to the school and the total ages were no less than 2.737 years.

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal
Friday 20 December 1929

School Concert. The scholars at the West Hallam Girls’ Infant School gave excellent variety entertainment in the schoolroom on Tuesday last. There was a packed attendance and everybody enjoyed themselves. At the close the rector, the Rev. W. Ratcliffe, congratulated the scholars, Miss Dodds (headmistress) and her staff on the success of their efforts. The proceeds were to provide the customary Christmas party.

Renovations 2018/19

Building Work At West Hallam Village Hall

Work started on 19th November 2018 at the rear of the Village Hall to create improved access and toilet facilities for those people with mobility problems. Additional benefits will include baby changing facilities, an enclosed area for parents collecting their children from activities, improvements to the roof and better ventilation to the fabric of the building.

Phase one of the works involved the demolition of the rear corridor wall, followed by the digging of the foundation for the extension. Over 30 tons of rubble and soil were dug out by hand by Damien Bowley and his intrepid team of builders. This work was observed by an archaeologist in case any items of interest were revealed – little was found and what was dated to the building of the Hall in the 1840’s. By the end of the first week in January, the foundation slab had been laid, the dormer windows in the main and rear halls removed and a temporary rear corridor constructed. A band of volunteers plus our regular cleaner scrubbed the Hall and made it ready for use from the 6th January.

Since then, the roof trusses for the extension have been installed and work to felt, tile and insulate both this and the existing roof undertaken. By the end of February 2019, the frame for the remainder of the extension will arrive, signifying the start of the next major phase of work.

Mary Butler, February 2019

The Village Hall

The Rear of the Hall Before Work Started in 2018

Dec 4th 2018 Taken After the Initial Demolition Work and the Base for the Floor Has Been Laid

January 19th 2019 the New Steps and Ramp to the Planned Rear Access

February 2nd 2019 the New Roof Trusses in Place and the Area That Will Be Covered By the New Extension

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