Village Hall History 1913 – 2018

Harwell Village Hall (originally Harwell Technical Institute) Charity Number 300161
1913 September Land given to the village with no covenants
1927 September £2662.19.0 released from savings to build the Technical Institute
1931 Probable opening of Harwell Technical Institute
1960 December Harwell Technical Institute renamed Harwell Village Hall
1971 Freeman Hall built with a life expectancy of 15-20 years
1991 November Becomes a registered charity 300161
2009 February Pilot survey on the future of the halls
2010 November Freeman Hall closed as it had become unsafe
2010 December Survey in Harwell News on the future of the village halls – renovate or relocate
2011 January Dead heat but out of time flurry in favour of renovation
2011 Summer Exploration of moving to the recreation ground
2011 October Trustees perform a risk assessment of the options – resolved to get a structural survey
2011 November Structural survey
2011 December Decision to develop and renovate the hall
2012 Spring Invite tenders from architects
2012 May RPA Architects Ltd chosen with the help of Nightingales providing architectural advice
2013 January Planning approval granted to build large new hall and renovate existing main hall
2013 – 2015 £1million raised from events, donations, gift aid, grants and Section 106 money from local housing developments
2015 January Legal status of the hall changed from charity to Charitable Inorporated organisation (CIO) number 1157858
2015 Spring Building project tendered – decision made in July
2015 September Contract signed with Fennell Blake & Co. Ltd
2015 October Building works commence
2015 November Demolition of the Freeman Hall
2016 July Charity Bank approve our loan for £350,000 to complete the project.
2016 October Phase 1, Orchard Hall is completed
2016 October First £200,000 of loan drawn down – interest payments begin – clock starts ticking, we have 2 years to repay or request a conversion to a mortgage.
2016 November Phase 2 begins and new Orchard Hall is opened for use
2016 December Retractable seating installed in Orchard Hall
2017 February £100,000 further draw-down of loan
2017 March Final £50,000 drawn down.
2017 April Phase 2 is completed and Cherry Hall is opened for use
2017 May Grand celebration event to formerly open Harwell Village Hall and invite the public to view the facilities
2018 April Section 106 money £210,000 from new local housing developments used to pay off some of the loan
Trustees decide to convert the remainder of the loan to a mortgage to be paid off through the normal income of hall hire activities.

Note when the Village Hall was ‘The Harwell Technical Institute’ it was divided into two halves. You can see where the moveable divider went if you look carefully. The area next to the new committee room, formerly the kitchen, was set aside to teach the village women cookery and domestic skills while the western end of the hall was for men to learn field crafts and carpentry. Click here for the village archives which includes interviews and photographs of old Harwell and here for the book ‘A village for a thousand years’. There are more interesting photos and documents on the Harwell Parish Website

A venue for all in Harwell, Oxfordshire