History of the Village Hall
........the Vendors convey to the Trustees all that plot of land situate at Coal Aston aforesaid fronting the main road from Coal Aston to Eckington containing in the whole four acres three roods and thirty two perches or thereabouts........
........for the purpose of a Public Playing Field and Village Hall for the use of Clubs Societies or Organisations having athletic social or educational objects and other purposes defined by Section 4 of the Physical training and recreation Act 1937........
........have agreed with the Trustees for the sale to them of the said property at the price of eight hundred and thirty pounds........
[Extracts from the Conveyance dated 25 August 1948]
In 1948 a plot of land was made available for a Village Hall with Playing Fields for the benefit of Coal Aston and its immediate vicinity, to be held in Trust and managed by the Committee. The Organisation was named Coal Aston Village Hall and Playing Fields and registered as Charity No 520438 in 1948. The Capital for the building was raised by public donation and the Hall was built in 1958 and opened on 12th September 1959. In 1962 the local council purchased the Playing Fields and in 1972 acquired another parcel of land for use as a car park.
The Village Hall operated very successfully for many years, with a varied programme of uses and events, such as Drama Groups, Dancing Classes, Folk Groups, Keep Fit, Short Mat Bowls, Art and Craft Fairs, W.I., Discos, and an Annual Gala: in fact, all the events a Village Hall is expected to provide.
However, over the years, the fabric of the Hall deteriorated and the requirements of the community changed with respect to the standards and facilities expected. Apart from the problems associated with the fabric of the existing building, limitations arose because access to any room was difficult without causing disturbance to users of other rooms. The heating was gas-fired and delivered via warm-air vents in the suspended ceiling. Unfortunately, this was a costly and inefficient scheme, because much of the heat was lost through the metal roof, which was not insulated. Other drawbacks included a lack of sound-proofing, limited storage space and an absence of properly designed access facilities for disabled persons.
With this situation in mind, the Committee, with input from various user representatives, explored the feasibility of extending or altering the current building. Many suggested schemes were investigated, but it was soon clear that to achieve any real improvement, major capital expenditure would be necessary.
Dronfield Town Council, who were looking to upgrade their sports facility in Coal Aston, became aware of this dilemma and put forward a proposal whereby our Organisation would work with them in a joint venture. Both the current and potential users of the Hall were asked to put forward ideas and suggestions, from which a discussion plan was produced. In order to establish the need for such a development, an Open Forum was organised via a letter box appeal throughout the area. Over a period of two days, local residents and all other interested parties were given the opportunity to consider the suggested scheme and pass judgement. The overall feeling of those who attended the Forum was one of great enthusiasm and this provided the encouragement for the Committee to pursue the project further.
In 1999 we were delighted to receive £280,000 from the National Lottery Charities Board (Millennium Festival Fund). Special thanks are due to Ron Hubbard and Derek Andrews, who put in a tremendous amount of time and effort over several years to develop the successful bid. The Hall had been lovingly cared for during the previous 47 years, but it had reached the stage where more money than we could afford would be needed to bring it up to modern-day standards. We were therefore more than grateful for the lifeline that had been extended to us.
This award enabled us to extend and refurbish the Village Hall and include an Information Technology Sun Centre. This unit, known as the Coal Aston Accelerator, was run in conjunction with Chesterfield College and the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO). Its purpose was to help the unemployed and other local residents of the area.
Refurbishment of the Hall started in January 2000 and resulted in a totally refurbished and extended Hall. Three extra rooms, additional storage, a new roof, new electrical wiring and heating and many other items made it a super Village Hall, ready for the New Millennium.
The official opening of the Village Hall was performed by the Dronfield Town Council Mayor, Mr Terry Furniss, on 15 July 2000. Derek and Ron are also seen in the photograph.
We are very grateful to Garry Knowles, who has sent us a interesting newspaper article which describes the early days of the old Village Hall. Garry's father, Maurice, became Chairman of the Village Hall following the retirement of Mr Kidd, who is seen laying the foundation stone.
During the ceremony, a formal acknowledgement was made for the financial support provided by our sponsors:
The National Lotteries Charities Board Millennium Festival Fund
Dronfield Town Council
European Regional Development Fund
East Midlands Development Agency
Duke of Devonshire's Charitable Trust
Graves Charitable Trust