Monday, 30 July 2018

Interesting Fact 19

Evolution of Catering Facilities
There is not a coherent record of the history of the kitchen associated with the Parish Hall but there are pieces of information that offer an account of possible catering facilities at the Hall.

The Parish Hall accounts for 1923/1924 show income for hiring the Hall by Mr Lake for Sports Tea (6th August 1923) and by Mr Hodgson (Rector) for Choir Supper (2nd January 1924) indicating there were some facilities that enabled catering for these events. The accounts record show regular annual entries from 1924 that refer to Harvest Supper which indicates continued use of the Hall for activities requiring catering.

The first document that shows a kitchen located at the Hall was in the architect drawings produced in 1966 as part of the planning application for the toilet and foyer extension.

Plan showing layout prior to 1966

Plan showing proposed layout in 1966

At an undefined time in the Hall’s past the cob wall on the north side of the barn has been cut away and a wooden partition wall with a hatch has been installed between the hall and the kitchen. A clue to when this work may have been undertaken is in the Parish Hall accounts which has an entry showing a payment of £2/4/10 to British Rail on 21st October 1958. It is not recorded what that payment was made for but the north wall above the opening is held up with a metal girder and it could be suggested that this was purchased from British Rail. The accounts also confirm there was work undertaken on the Hall in that year with payment of £34/5/9 made to T H Moor on 24th June and a significant payment of £132/0/0 made to Pel. (not clear who this is or what the payment is for) on 30th December 1958.

The photograph below gives an indication of the thickness of the old cob wall and how it has been removed to form an opening between the kitchen and the hall. A metal beam supports the wall above the opening and has been covered with wooden panelling.

The two doors between the kitchen and main hall were still evident until 2016 when one door was blocked in as part of the Hall conservation and improvement work including the kitchen refurbishment. The two doors are evident in the photograph below taken in 2015.

Views Inside the Kitchen
Inside the kitchen showing the wooden partition wall between the kitchen and the hall, the serving hatch and the cupboard and working surface. This was cupboard was removed in the 2018 refurbishment and new cupboards and worktops installed. The hatch was retained but the style and opening arrangements improved.

The photograph below taken in 1998 shows the inside of the kitchen when the Hall was used as part of a community flower festival event. This was before improvements works undertaken in 1999 / 2000 when the kitchen was fitted with units.

Work was undertaken to improve the kitchen in 1999 / 2000 shown in the photograph below.

In 2018 a full refurbishment was undertaken as shown in photograph below.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Interesting Fact 18

Lecture Lantern Used at Parish Hall 1917 
One piece of evidence that the Parish Hall had community use prior to 1920 was an article that appeared in the Western Times on 26 October 1917 which reported that a lecture on ‘The Western Front, Food Production and War Savings’ had been given by the Rev J P Benson. The article confirms that his wife operated a Lecture or Magic Lantern.

Article in Western Times on 26 October 1917

The magic lantern was a tool which served both to entertain and to educate. In many instances a lecture was read to the audience as slides were projected. Special lecturer's lamps were employed that shone the light directly on to the text yet allowed the rest of the room to remain in darkness. Often these lamps had some sort of signalling device (usually a bell or, more discretely, a tiny flash of coloured light). This signal indicated to the lanternist to project the next slide.

Interesting Facts 17

Electricity Installation and the Parish Hall
The main sources of information are provided by Parish Council minutes and Parish Hall accounts. It was first recorded in the Parish Council minutes that lighting to the Parish Hall was mentioned at a meeting on 5 October 1951 but there is no reference that this was related to electric lighting. However, at the meeting on 21 March 1955 the Chairman proposed that the Clerk should approach the South Western Electricity Board and make enquiries as to the prospects of getting electric installed in the Parish Hall.  This was again proposed and seconded at the meeting on 23 May 1956. It appears that electricity was supplied following this date as at a Parish Council meeting held on 12 November 1956, the foremost business being the installation of the electric in the Parish Hall.  It was proposed by Mr F Webber and seconded by Mr R Holmes that ‘we should try and wire the Hall. After discussion it was proposed to have the following lights and appliances fitted if it could be afforded.
  • 4 lights in the main hall one with a regulation flex
  • 1 light gents lobby
  • 1 light ladies lobby
  • 1 light kitchen
  • 1 external light on the corner of the Hall
  • 2 wall heaters
  • 1 power plug in the main Hall
  • 1 power plug in the kitchen
  • 1 boiler

Mr S C Gilbard proposed that the Clerk should get estimates for the above items and then meet again and decide what should be done away with if funds would not allow all.  Mr A Hosegood seconded this proposal.

At the meeting on 13 February 1957.  The tenders for wiring the Hall were then discussed, after comparing the prices, Mr F Troake proposed and Mr S Gilbard seconded that the Clerk should write to T H Moor Ltd and state that they would accept their Tender if they would take the gas fittings etc. in part exchange. (7 lights, 3 fires, 1 x 10-gallon boiler, 4 regulators, 1 brass connector, copper tubing).

At the meeting on 16 May 1957 the Clerk was informed that he could get in touch with T H Moor Ltd and tell them to start with the wiring of the Hall.  It was decided that an additional power plug and two heater plugs should be put in the main Hall extra to the contract. Mr F Troake proposed there should be a light put over the dart board. Seconded by Mr R Cox. The Parish Council meeting then ended and was combined with another meeting there the type of heaters to have in the Hall was discussed.  It was decided that Mr F Troake and D Keenow should purchase the best they could get for approximately £20 - £25 which should be 4 or 5.

28 October 1957. The foremost business of the meeting was deciding on what type of electric heaters to install.  It was decided to purchase two hanging ones at £8 each, 1 focusing wall heater at £5/15/4 and one ordinary bar fire for the kitchen, price £2/14/0.

This timescale is supported by the records maintained in the Parish Hall Accounts. The documents show a payment to T H Moor on 15th June 1955 which related to work on gas fittings suggesting at that time that was the main source of energy for heating and lighting. In line with the Parish Council records payments of £2/15/5 on 5th June 1956, £2/8/0 on 19th February 1957, and £49/4/9 on 8th June 1957 were made to T H Moor presumably related to the electrical work identified in the Parish Council minutes. This assumption is supported by a payment of £24/14/10 to South West Electricity on 8th June 1957 and a further payment of £3/3/0 on 13th December 1957. Further payments were made to South West Electricity is following years presumably for electricity use.

While these records confirm that electricity was installed in East Worlington by the end of 1957 it was clear that by that date electricity had not reach West Worlington. At the meeting on 30 January 1958 Mr F Troake proposed that the Clerk should write to the Electricity Board and ask them the position of having a supply laid on to West Worlington.

It appears that action by the Electricity Board was not speedy in responding as at the meeting on 10 March 1959 Mr S Gilbard proposed and Mr D Keenor seconded that the Clerk should write to the South Molton Rural District Council regarding the supply of electric to West Worlington.

There was no further mention of electricity issues for either East Worlington or West Worlington.

Interesting Fact 16

Water Supply and East Worlington Parish Hall
Prior to mains water coming to East Worlington the main water supply was from the village pump which still exists, a feature representing part of our local heritage. There is no evidence to explain how the Parish Hall accessed water from this pump and for what purpose, but a first-hand account from a local resident who attended the adjacent school in the 1940’s recollects one of the monitor duties for pupils was to go to the pump every morning and bring water back for use during the day.

Village Water Pump located near the junction of the road to Drayford.
It is a hand operated pump now not in use.

At some point the Hall did install a ‘cloakroom’ facility and this shows in the plans drawn 1966 to make the necessary planning application for a toilet extension to the Hall. There is no evidence to explain if this was a flushing toilet facility and if so no clarity about drainage. The same plans also show a kitchen area and it is most likely water was required for any form of catering.

Evidence from East Worlington Parish Council minutes show that at the meeting on 11 June 1952 the Clerk was asked to find out particulars about laying on the water in the Parish Hall from the North Devon Water Board. It is not clear if at this time mains water was present in the village of East Worlington, but possibly not as there is photographc evidence that mains water supply was laid in West Worlington in 1957.

Mains Water Laying in West Worlington in 1957

Also, at the Parish Council meeting on 4 June 1957 the Clerk was asked to write to the North Devon Water Board and ask them to repair the village pump. At the meeting on 30 September 1957 the Clerk read letters from the North Devon Water Board and Mr I Popham, but the minute does not state what was in the letters.

Eight years after this record it is possible to confirm through a Parish Council record that on 9 March 1965 Parish Councillors discussed the discolouration of the domestic water supply due to the flushing out of the mains and as it was generally understood that notice should be given by the North Devon Water Board before this operation took place the Clerk was instructed to write asking that this should be done in future. There had not being a reply by the meeting on 1 June 1965 but by the 13 September 1965 meeting, a letter from the North Devon Water Board with regard to the flushing of water mains had arrived and was read with the contents noted. The contents of the letter were not recorded.

In the mid 1970’s, the Parish Council wrote to North Devon Water Board about the possibility of bringing the village pump back into service at times of water shortages, but the Water Board did not agree to this.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Interesting Fact 15

Whist Drive 
The Parish Hall records show that between 1922 and the early 1990s (maybe after this date but no records support that assumption) a regular use of the Hall was for a Whist Drive. 

Prior to WW2 the Whist Drive was often also associated with a dance.

This suggests that whist was a popular pastime within the community.

Whist Drive definition: Whist Drive is a social gathering where whist is played. Whist is played by four players at each table. Players seated opposite one another (partners) compete against the other two players at the table for that particular game. The winners of each hand move to different tables to play the losers of the previous hand.

Interesting Fact 14

Hall Used for Electioneering
The Parish Hall records show that the Hall was hired by Mr Nutall, the agent for Sir Cedric Drewe, a British Conservative Party politician who was elected as MP to the House of Commons for South Molton at the 1924 general election. The general election was held on 29th October 1924. The recorded dates of hire are 15th October 1924, which was presumably electioneering, and 5th November 1924, presumably a post-election address.

The Hall was again hired by Mr Drewe’s agent on 28th March 1930 for a meeting. There are no other details recorded. This is interesting in the fact that Sir Cedric Drewe lost his South Molton seat at the 1929 general election, held on 30th May 1929.

Drewe returned to Parliament two years later, at the 1931 general election, for the Honiton constituency. He held the seat until he retired from Parliament at the 1955 general election.

Cedric was the son of Julius Drewe, the English businessman, retailer, and entrepreneur, who had built Castle Drogo at Drewsteignton, Devon.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Heritage Project July Question

Every month for a year we are asking a question linked to the history of the hall to provide an opportunity for community engagement by researching and sending us the answer.

July Question 
There is no conclusive evidence as to whether the barn was a Tithe Barn or a Threshing Barn. It was probably used for both purposes. What is the difference between a Tithe Barn and a Threshing Barn?