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Bures Victory Hall 1919 - 1961


Photograph Courtesy of John Ineson

victory hall
Photograph Courtesy of John Ineson

On the site of our present village hall car park, near to the bottle bank stood the former Victory Hall.

Back in the early 1900`s, Cornelius Hitchcock (owner of the Mill) was instrumental in advancing the idea to the community of a new Village Hall. His wife Margaret sold 5/- shares in an effort to raise the required funds.
It was subsequently purchased in 1919, on behalf of the village by Col Richard Proberts grandfather.
It took the shape of two wooden huts erected end to end.

It was officially opened on January 5th 1921 by Sir William Hyde Parker

Arthur Beaumont can recall his father Henry travelling to mid-Suffolk (location unknown) to collect these buildings from an army camp.

During the lifetime of the building, Mrs Margaret Hitchcock was a frequent user of the hall. She founded "The Bures Dramatic Society" in 1922 , which used the hall for their rehearsals and performances.
Margaret Hitchcock was not only the founder member of the society, but she often found to be acting in three act plays.
CLICK HERE for a selection of Posters.

The Women's Institute, in which Mrs Hitchcock was strongly associated also used it for their monthly meetings.
In addition the hall was booked for numerous single day events, the most famous of which was the joint service of the three churches in Bures during the mid 1930`s.
On this first occasion of them joining in one service, their strongly independent outlook was shattered to the extent that it was said that their congregations fell steadily away, once they were no longer in fierce opposition to each other.

The end behind the stage was set aside for many years for the men of the village who wished to play billiards and it was known for some time as the "mens end".

The "Dramatic Society" finally closed its doors in 1961 after 39 years.
Witgar Hitchcock who was the treasurer at that time, confirmed all profits from the plays amounted to £1015 were given to the Victory Hall.

Eventually in the late 1940`s Dr Thomas Wood donated a sum of money to the village for the erection of a new hall, the one we see today. Unfortunately he died in 1950, before the project got under way but his wife kindly carried on with the legacy.

In 1961 the present day village hall was opened, which made the Victory Hall redundant.

<<<< Essex County Standard April 1961

 

 

On the 4th Oct 1961 the Victory Hall was placed in the hands of Percivals the auctioneers, for disposal together with all the fitments.

After extensive research I could find no record of who purchased the building at auction. Percivals found in their ledgers the sale advertisement, but no record of any purchaser, which was rather odd.
However, on making enquiries with the Suffolk Free Press they kindly looked through their archives and discovered the Hall failed to reach its bid reserve of £200 and was withdrawn from sale. This would explain why no purchaser was recorded.

John Ineson of HighFields Farm, who was then very involved with the Scouting movement purchased some of the fitments for the Sudbury Scouts. He also had in his possession the original `Sale` poster dated 4th October 1961, distributed by Percivals.

(update - catalogue now available to view here)

The disposal of the Hall was then opened up for a private negotiation.
Arthur Beamont can recall his father dismantling the building, and seeing it taken away on a lorry driven by Mr Bower, the local millwright !
It has since been confirmed by Mr Bower`s son Reg, the journey`s final destination was the bonfire. The structure was suffering from severe rot and was irreparable.

 

NOTE:- Records indicate that a Public Hall was erected in 1890, location unknown. So the Victory Hall was not the first in the village.

 

photo
6th May 1935 - Jubilee Day Celebration Party.
Photograph taken by Dr Thomas Wood.

Notes on Current Village Hall:-

The Hall was financed by Mrs St Osyth Wood with a £7,500 donation, with the remainder of £3,500 coming from the Ministry of Education
The land on which the village hall was built was entrusted to the Management Committee on 11th March 1960 for a peppercorn rent.
The building was completed and officially opened on Saturday 8th April 1961
The first tenants of the village hall were Charles Robert Peacock then chairman of Bures Hamlet Parish Council, Ronald Arthur Mansfield chairman of St Mary's Parish Coucil and Arthur Desmond Rowley Heyland.
The village hall was reburbished 2007/08 and was then renamed Bures Community Hall.


Acknowledgement to:-
John Ineson, Peter Richards & Witgar Hitchcock
Percivals, auctioneers
Nick Wells, News Editor, Suffolk Free Press
Kelly`s Directory 1900 re 1890 Hall
Derek Wolsten-Croft
and many other residents, to numerous to mention.