Village Halls, Parish Rooms, Reading Rooms
- Origins of reading rooms and village halls
- Early mentions of Terrington Reading Room (to 1885)
- First Village Hall (Brindle Court)
- Second Village Hall (Cliff Hall)
- Current Village Hall
Origins of reading rooms and village halls
Nationally, reading rooms were provided in villages and towns from the mid-nineteenth century, often by the church and local landowners, mainly for the working classes, reflecting contemporary attitudes to philanthropy, recreation and self-help. They were financed partly through fund-raising social events. They offered a much needed alternative to the public house and were an important part of village life, although they tended to appeal more to the lower middle classes, and membership was mostly restricted to males. In the twentieth century, as other diversions appeared, reading rooms gradually declined.
In the wake of the First World War, reading rooms tended to be replaced by Village Halls. It may be that those who came back from the War and those who had remained behind in England needed a place in which they could redevelop a sense of belonging and participation in their communities. As a result, uniquely to Britain, large numbers of village halls were created after the First World War for people to gather together. They provided spaces and amenities for social gatherings and answered the need for recreation and mental stimulation for people of all ages and social classes, and were created and managed by the very people whom they served. Village halls quickly became a central feature of rural areas, in part due to their multi-purpose usage but also because of the efforts of the earliest committees doing their best to facilitate rural regeneration.
Early mentions of Terrington Reading Room (to 1885)
The first mention of a Reading Room in rector Samuel Wimbush's diaries is in October 1871 when he reports that a Reading Room was opened and two days later that he played chess there. In December 1872, he notes 'inaugurating Reading Room for winter - 18 members'. The Reading Room could also be used for various events, so functioning as a parish room or village hall. There is no evidence as to where this was.
In December 1873, Samuel paid Mrs Arthington Worsley for the reading room last winter £2.4.0 and in February 1875 'paid to Mrs Arthington Worsley proceeds of concert = £3.14.9 for reading room of last winter'. So, wherever the Reading Room was, it apparently belonged to the Worsleys.
In March 1882 Mrs Howard proposed a new Reading Room and between 25 and 30 gave their names as intending subscribers. In April 1882, Terrington reading room was opened in “Tate’s parlour” and in December 1882, Samuel paid Mr. Lishman 6/2 for the reading room. Lishman was the schoolmaster and had been living in The Lodge from November 1882, but the payment may have been for reading material rather than rent for the room.
Reading Room in former Cross Keys pub (1885-1926)
In May 1884, Samuel Wimbush attended a meeting to arrange with Coatsworth as to his new duties as tenant of the Reading Room at The Cross Keys, 'now to be the Reading Room and not the Cross Keys'. Possibly it was a Castle Howard tenancy not renewed, and re-let by Mrs Rosalind Howard (she didn't become the Countess of Carlisle until 1889) as a reading room and temperance hotel with Samuel Wimbush’s support.
Various events took place in the Reading Room such as concerts, lectures and tea for the choir, it was used for collecting cottage rents, and some groups were allowed to use it. Some of the events were to raise money for the Reading Room.
In January 1886 there was a proposal to introduce card playing in the reading room. Samuel Wimbush was opposed to this and enlisted Mr Swann as an ally. At the Reading Room Committee meeting the next evening Samuel protested against the introduction of card playing. The following day the Committee met again at 11.45am after members had burnt a Committee notice. They put up another copy with another notice prohibiting cards. More discussions folowed and new rules framed.
In 1889 the Committee resolved that all literature given should be approved by the Committee before being laid upon the table. Later that year they declined to receive literature from Mr William Worsley.
Conduct in the Reading Room was an on-going issue. On various ocassions, Samuel Wimbush addressed the young men in favour of better order, he fined members 6d each for disorderly conduct, and wrote to the secretary Robert Nash about unruly members of the Reading Room.
George Coatesworth apparently looked after the temperance hotel and reading room until his death in 1904. Reading room secretaries included: Robert Nash (grocer and postmaster), Thomas Kirkbride (who was also the schoolmaster), David Ellerby, Felix Carr, Frank Green, and Robert Goodwill. In the 1930s, Mrs Emma Hope had the temperance hotel and the family were 'motor omnibus proprietors and carriers'.
Village Hall (1926-present)
First Village Hall (Brindle Court)
In 1906 Lady Carlisle had asked whether the parishioners would like to have the old school (now Brindle Court in North Back Lane) made over to the parish for a parish room, but this didn't happen until 1926.
Edwin Cooke in his Oral History recording remembered a billiards table there and people playing cards, darts or snooker or billiards, with "all the young blokes, including the ones that were working on the farms, all congregated there on a night". The room was L-shaped with the billiards table in the smaller part and the longer part used for dances and other events. And when there was a dance they covered up the table and did the refreshments in that part of the room. Dances seemed to be rather informal affairs, accompanied by villagers on drums and piano. Films also came once a fortnight or once a month.
At some time, a room in the grounds of the old rectory (now Terrington House) functioned as a parish room or a youth club. There also seem to have been dances in the current Stable Cottages at Terrington Hall School (behind Gardener's Cottage). More information is needed.
Second Village Hall (Cliff Hall)
In 1952 Cliff Hall was bought by Mr PGA Clementson, Head Teacher of Terrington Hall School, and Mr J Robinson, who were on the Village Hall Committee. Since the war the villagers had been planning to replace their old hall and raised £2,000 between 1950 and 1954. Cliff House stood empty for two years until 1954 when the Village Hall Committee bought it and it was opened as the new Village Hall in June 1954 by Sir William Worsley, whose great great uncle, Marcus Worsley, had built it.
A Gazette & Herald article from 6 June 2012 - The Way We Were: June 11, 1954 reports the opening of the new village hall:
TERRINGTON villagers invited the man who had spent seven childhood years in the country mansion they have bought for use as a village hall to visit the village on Whit Monday.
He opened the new ‘hall’ for them, and they were told by him: “It is infinitely the best village hall I have ever seen.”
The man was Sir William Worsley Bt Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding, who lives at Hovingham, a few miles from Terrington; the mansion was Cliff House, former home of the late Sir Alfred Lascelles and of Sir William’s great-great uncle Capt Marcus Worsley, RN, who built it in the 1850s.[actually 1870-71]
Telling nearly 500 people gathered in the grounds of Cliff House he had spent the first seven years of his life there, Sir William commented: “It has always been a happy house.
There isn’t a corner in it without childhood memories for me.”
Cliff House and its grounds were bought by villagers Mr P G A Clemenson and Mr J Robinson and the house itself offered to the village for £2,250.
The old village hall was used for a time as canteen for the village school and was later bought by Terrington Hall School.
The new Hall seemed to become famous for its Friday night dances. According to Ann Hartas it was 'half a crown, if it was five shillings you got extra dressed up – it was very special at five shillings'. According to John Goodwill the dances were absolutely packed, with people coming from all over to the famous Terrington dances. Neville Hornsey remembers a drama group which did plays in the Village Hall. You will find these quotes in the Oral History pages. In the 1980s at least two casino evenings were held there to raise funds with attenders dressed up to the nines.
A British Legion Club was formed after the War and had its Club room on the side of the Village Hall, where they had a licensed bar and that became the Village Social Club.
There was also a youth club, which started in the Brindle Court village hall, then moved to Cliff Hall and finally to High Dene on Main Street (which had been the Co-operative Stores), where it was for a few years and then 'it fizzled out because nobody would take it'.
Current Village Hall
The current Terrington Village Hall was opened in 1994, with a main hall with a capacity of up to 200, the Wimbush Room for meetings, and a bar, plus kitchen. Subequently showers and changing rooms were added. In the main hall is a series of 13 banners celebrating the history of the village. The main hall is used for a range of events from music and drama to badminton and the Wimbush Room for meetings, of the Parish Council and Gardening Club, for example.
Throughout much of the Covid pandemic it was required by government regulations to remain closed but opened whenever possible for permitted activities.
This page last updated: 21st December 2021