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Lindford Village Hall

From Lindford, Bordon

It is easy to walk right past the plain-looking Village Hall, at the centre of the museum, without even noticing it – unless you have been to one of our many events which make use of the very inviting space inside! As its name suggests, the entire building was Lindford's Village Hall until it was brought to the museum late in 1996 and restored to its original condition, starting in January 1997, by the members of the Rural Life Centre. It had been in use in Lindford by many organisation – in the banner picture (above) you will notice many items from the Church, local Brownie group, and others.

This timber building dating from the First World War was originally a portable Army hut in Bordon, an Army camp from 1899. When we first encountered it, it was in use in nearby Lindford as their Village Hall, and had been joined to the adjacent Methodist Chapel by a short timber passageway running from the side door (the door is now a Fire Escape door). You can see the passageway in the first picture below. In the Sixties, Chris interviewed Mr. K. Bassett, who had applied for a grant for an entirely new hall. On being asked what would be the fate of the old building, he had the reply "I thought we'd have a bonfire". Thankfully the entire building was instead offered to the museum and accepted by Henry Jackson.

On 14th August 1996 we asked Mr. Bassett if we could begin dismantling the building for transport to the museum, and requested that the electricity be disconnected and contents removed in advance, since the partly dismantled building would be insecure and not rainproof. He kindly gave us the original decorations, posters and drawings, to provide maximum authenticity to the re-sited building.
The volunteers had thoughtfully removed a wasps nest from the building and oiled the bolts to ease the disassembly, and the removal of the structure to the Rural Life Centre began on September 15th, 1996. It was functional at the Rural Life Centre a mere couple of weeks later.

Village Hall at Lindford Inside the Village Hall at Lindford Beginning to dismantle the Village Hall Dismantling to clear the site The foundations at Lindford Building the Village Hall at the RLC Music Evening: 'Live from the Village Hall' Santa Special - partly in the Village Hall Unimposing exterior, as at Lindford!

The parts arrived at the museum during the latter part of September 1996, complete with all the contents – from prayer books to a table football game – and the Village Hall was rebuilt in its present position, on a raised foundation to keep water away from the timbers instead of the rather ad-hoc rows of building blocks placed directly on earth that had been used at Lindford. The extra height necessitated small changes to the main entrance; a ramp now provides easy access to the building.

Shortly after it was completed, the Village Hall became the temporary home of the Tilford Playgroup for a few months, while their customary home, the Tilford Institute building, was being extended. The children were sad to leave when the Institute extension was completed – at the museum there is a children's playground on the site! Many of those children, now grown up and with children of their own, will remember that short episode.

These days, the Village Hall's unimposing and original external appearance causes it easily to be overlooked, especially compared with the Cricket Pavilion and Chapel. Nevertheless, it really is one of the many exhibits at the museum. Please visit it and see just how inviting it is inside! At present, unusually for an exhibit, it also provides a comfortable venue for visitors and Rustics alike and is used during many events. Our Village Hall is also being used as our own refuge — along the back wall, book-shelves have been placed, to hold books for sale. In the corner adjacent to the main door we keep the necessaries to allow the Rustics to have their cups of tea on Wednesdays, when they congregate there as the 'meeting-place'. It is our own, very respected Village Hall.