The Village Halls

The (Old) Village Hall

ON THIS PAGE is information on the Village Hall in the old School building; the current Village Hall; memories; some organisations that meet there; and the more recent Mulbarton Players. 

The Wingfield Hall continued to be used for a variety of clubs and events until it closed in 1972. To repair and modernise the hall became too costly, and in 1970 a committee was formed to raise money for a new Village Hall. Members had their eye on the village school when it was finally closed - as there was no suitable site for a village hall and the old school was built on Common Land so people thought it should only be used for the good of the village. The Committee raised over £7000 in five years, through a series of Village Festivals and other events.

After many problems with the Charity Commissioners, the Wingfield Hall was finally sold in 1975 by sealed bids. The highest offer (£2000) was withdrawn at the last minute, and the building was sold at a lower price to Mr. Frost. It was demolished and permission was given for a modern house to be built on the site for one of Mr. Frost's employees. The proceeds of the old Parish Hall was about 10% of the cost of the replacement Village Hall, which was purchased from the County Council in 1975. In addition to funds raised by the Village Hall committee, grant-aid enabled them to buy and convert the old school, and later add the changing rooms. As the village grew this hall became too small and was replaced by a much larger hall and social club with money raised through the Parish rate supplemented by grants.
(Information from Harry Walsh & Ann Baker, members of the Village Hall Committee)

Inside the (old) Village Hall: 2nd Mulbarton Guide enrolment, 1987
Inside the (old) Village Hall: 2nd Mulbarton Guide enrolment, 1987

Fundraising for a Village Hall

From the introduction to Programme of the Grand Fete & Children's Sports Day, Monday 25th May, 1970 (price sixpence)

At the Parish Meeting held on April 13th [1970] a committee was formed to raise funds for the erection of a new Village Hall in Mulbarton.

It is felt that it has long been the ambition of every parishioner to see a new village hall in Mulbarton, the committee therefore are hoping for your whole-hearted support of the various fund-raising schemes which are being planned for the future.

The first event will be a Wine & Cheese Happening at the World's End Club Room on Friday 19th followed by a Sponsored Walk. This latter is scheduled to take place on June 28th. Everyone is invited to take part in each of these events - final details will be published later. There will also be a "Mulbarton Village Hall Fund" lottery, and it is hoped that all parishioners will take part in this.

As you must all be aware, Bracon Ash & Hethel have achieved their ambition and have built a village hall which was opened recently. Surely we in Mulbarton have the enthusiasm and capability to at least equal their fine efforts.

It is the aim of the Village Hall Committee to provide Mulbarton with a new village hall, however this will only be possible with your help and co-operation. Any suggestions for raising funds should be passed to a member of the committee....

From the introduction to Programme of the Grand Fete & Children's Sport Day, Monday 31st May, 1971 (price threepence)

For many years there has been a Fete and Sports Day on Whit Monday on Mulbarton Common and I am glad to know that in the last few years this day of sports and entertainment has been most successful and has been enjoyed by a large number of Mulbarton residents and visitors.... The Commons Committee are now in funds and have the necessary equipment with which to carry on.

The next important item is to raise sufficient funds to build a really nice Village Hall for the parish; approximately £600 has already been collected and I should like to thank all those who have been helping this fund and hope the amount will soon be increased. A really nice Hall with modern facilities would be a great benefit to the whole community.... (signed) H R Harris

From the introduction to Programme of the Grand Fete & Children's Sport Day, Monday 29th May, 1972 (no price)

We welcome you to the Annual Fete & Sports Day at Mulbarton Common. Proceeds from various stalls today will be put to the benefit of Mulbarton Village Hall Fund. It is hoped to swell the Fund which now stands at £1300 approximately....

From Parish News, Christmas 1972:

A very well attended public meeting was held in the Old School on Monday September 25th. By an almost unanimous vote, it was agreed that the committee should make a bid to the Norfolk Education Committee to buy the old school when it becomes available in April-May 1973. It appears that a completely new building is quite out of our reach and the old school can be converted to a suitable hall fairly easily. A grant towards this has been applied for...

[In fact, it was in use as a school until summer 1973 - see School in the 1970s]

It was another 2 years before the Wingfield Hall sale was completed and the old school was finally purchased from the County Council.

(Above) One of the final events at the old Village Hall was an 'old school' reunion in 1989. Among those who came were (L>R): Jean Smith; Maurice Norman; Peter Mickleburgh; Colin Rumsby; Angela Williams; John Williams; Lilly Mickleburgh (school cook for many years); Gerald Collins; Cliff Robinson; Colin Kedge; Vi Barrett; Brenda Collins; Vera Hammond; Norma Kedge; Doreen Abendroth; Olive Allard; Dawn Mickleburgh.

The (New) Village Hall

The new Village Hall & Social Club almost ready for its grand opening
The new Village Hall & Social Club almost ready for its grand opening

From a news cutting dated April 14th 1989:

A new era has opened at Mulbarton where a £200,000 village hall has been paid for by the villagers. And together they have helped raise a further £9500 to build a new Scout and Guide headquarters on the site. The end result is the pride of the village with everyone helping in some way, however small, to turn dreams into reality.

(Above) Opening day for the new Village Hall with (L>R) Val Grogutt (Parish Council Chair); the Ames quads; Robert Preston (past Parish Council Chair)

"...our future plans include a sports hall, bowling green, floodlit hard courts and a children's play area. The adjacent field has been bought by the Mulbarton United Football Club who are starting work on preparing a new pitch.... Behind the village hall, which is also home for the 525 strong social club, is the new Scout and Guide headquarters...."

"Everything achieved in this village is through the care and goodwill of the people who live here. We are proud of what we have achieved, and hope to do more." 

Building the first skateboard ramp near the Scout HQ, 1991
Building the first skateboard ramp near the Scout HQ, 1991

Within 5 years the new Village Hall was extended in 1993 to cope with demand in a growing village. Mulbarton Social Club had raised £35,000 towards the new extension, to which grants from South Norfolk District Council had been added.

(Above) Hethersett & District Lions Club meet in the Village Hall and raise funds for local causes. Here, John Hewitt (Secretary, Left foreground) and Rodney Davis (President, Right foreground) gather with other members at 'Robinscroft' where they laid a patio & bought garden furniture in 1991

Existing clubs moved to the new Village Hall and the larger hall meant new activities could flourish, such as Short Mat Bowls, and Country & Western dances. The fully licensed bar was also welcomed by many. And a well-equipped stage enabled Mulbarton Players to entertain with popular pantomimes and variety entertainments....

More Mulbarton Players

Mulbarton Players Millennium style: the 'underwater' scene in the panto Dick Wittington, written and produced by Chris Scales. Miss Octopussy (Richard Pilch, centre) is serenaded by singing mermaids (left to right) Graham Eagling, Kevin Godfrey, Charlie Yallup and Angus. This production raised money for children with muscular dystrophy, including a local lad.
(Photo left contributed by Graham Eagling; photos below by Bryan Tungate