How it all began


This is a record of the building and management and the activities of the Village Hall, Hutton le Hole. It is in no sense a minute book and it is not intended that it should be used in such a way. It is believed that it may be of interest to future members of our village life to read of the beginnings of this Village Hall and it is hoped that it will be preserved with the Trust Deed and other papers which may increase in value as the years pass.

Future readers may be interested to read that this record was written, as far as page 30 (of the original text), during one night of Fire watching, November 30th – December 1st 1942.

How It All Began

For some time it had seemed to us all that we could not live a Community life in full friendships unless there was a centre in the village where we could meet together. So the idea of building a Village Hall began to grow. Groups of people began to talk about it and to think of ways of raising money

In February 1933 a Public Meeting was held in the School in response to a notice:

“Do we want a Village Hall?”

A large number attended. The resolution that “this public meeting is of the opinion that a Village Hall is needed in Hutton le Hole” was passed unanimously. A Committee was appointed to consider means of raising money, finding a site, etc.

The members of the first Committee were:

Captain Vernon Holt – Chairman

Admiral Sir Cyril Fuller – Vice Chairman

J Chappell – Hon. Treasurer

Mrs F J Burnley – Hon. Secretary

Rev. T W Edwards

H Taylor–Mrs Wardle–Mrs Dixon

Mrs Metcalf–R Hayes–C Taylor

Mrs Hutton–F J Burnley–T Strickland

Mrs Ventress–Miss C Frank–H Ward

Shortly afterwards the following names were added to the Committee:

A S Rowntree–W Strickland–Miss L Wardle

These officials remained in office till June 1934 when J Chappell resigned from the Hon.Treasurership and R W Crosland was elected in his place. In August 1937 Captain Holt resigned from the position he held as Chairman and A S Rowntree was elected in his place and held the position until the completion of the building.

At the first Public Meeting it was decided not to make a large effort raising money in 1933 as the new church fund had not been completed but promises of Gifts were made, smaller schemes were planned, a Folk Dance Festival was held on the Village Green, the friendly people from Appleton le Moors came over to give an entertainment, the various village organisations represented on this Committee made contributions to the building fund and some friends took collecting boxes.

Before the site was settled on – but as though to give substance to the idea that a hall would eventually be built – the Committee invited R E Priestley Cooper of York to draw the plans when they would be required. Several visits were paid to the National Council of Social Service in London in connection with the grants made by the Carnegie Trust towards the cost of building village halls. Other halls were visited and ideas from places as far distant as a village in Devonshire and Uppsala in Sweden have been incorporated in the Village Hall in Hutton le Hole.

A Public Meeting was held each year. Every adult in the village was eligible to attend and vote; they heard what progress was being made and had the opportunity of expressing their opinions on such questions as the most suitable site, the size of the building and the materials of which it should be made.

Many sites were considered. A site was offered by Captain Holt; the Darley Estate was approached on the question of building on the Common land; ground behind Well Cottage was offered by F J Burnley but the approaches were not satisfactory. Finally F J Burnley offered a site on the south side of the Post Office. After some negotiations with the Surveyors Department of the North Riding County Council the site was sanctioned as being suitable and it was accepted by the Committee.

On May 6th 1937 it was decided to ask the architect to draw the plans – the essential requirements being a hall to hold 120 people, a fixed stage, a combined kitchen and committee room, a billiard room and cloakrooms for women and men.

Wm. Rickaby & Son, Kirkbymoorside were asked to undertake the work. The Committee’s decision that the hall should be built of stone with red English pan tiling, hardwood floors etc. having been endorsed by the Public Meeting.

A Building Subcommittee was appointed to work on the details with the architect and the builders:

F J Burnley, Mrs Hutton, R W Crosland, Mrs Burnley being the members.

On the 19th March 1938 it was reported that the plans had been approved by the North Riding County Council and by the Kirkbymoorside Rural District Council. They had also been submitted to the National Council of Social Service and to the Yorkshire Rural Community Council who made helpful suggestions. The plans were also shown to the committee of the Ryedale Branch of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England. The Secretary of this committee wrote: “I am writing on behalf of the Ryedale Council for the Preservation of Rural England to thank the Hutton le Hole Village Hall Committee for their courteous action in submitting their plans for inspection. May I take this opportunity to congratulate the promoters and the architect? My committee has much pleasure in commending the plans, making special reference to the materials selected, namely the use of pan tiles which are always recommended for this locality also the stone walls and ridges; the well placed windows and small panes are also noted. We feel sure that the new hall will be a great social benefit and a pleasing architectural feature in Hutton le Hole.”

Yours sincerely, (signed)

Catherine J McDougall.


The first sods were cut on the 18th April 1938 by A S Rowntree and F J Burnley and the work of building was begun immediately. Lord Middleton, President of the Yorkshire Rural Community Council was invited to lay the foundation stone. As he was unable to do so F J Burnley was then asked. He preferred that this should be no formal stone laying but that any friends or visitors should be invited to lay the stone or a brick at the forthcoming Fair – giving 2/6d (12½p) for a stone and 1/-sh (5p) for a brick. The stone for the building was brought from the disused engine house at Rosedale Abbey.

Contracts were given as follows:

Building – Wm Rickaby & Son, Kirkbymoorside

Joinery – H Rivis

Plumbing – J Dobson

Painting – M Place

Ironwork – Russells

Heating – Pipeless Heating Co, London

Electric Wiring – Walker & Hutton, Scarborough

Calor Gas – Calor Gas Co, York

Cozy Stove – Cozy Stove Co, Berners St. WC1

Chairs – Mealing Bros, High Wycombe, Bucks

Tables – Ellerkers, Kirkbymoorside

Pottery – Burnett & Co Ltd, Burslem, Staffs

Ironmongery – Websters, York

Billiard Table – E J Riley Ltd, Accrington

Badminton – Sports and Pastimes, Bradford

Curtain Track – B Burnet, Garrick St, London

Piano – Archibald Ramson, Scarborough

Window Curtains – Gift Shop, Hutton le Hole

The building and furnishing were completed in April 1939. No one having applied for the post of caretaker the members of the Committee agreed to clean the Hall themselves in readiness for the opening day. The date fixed for the cleaning was the birthday of the chairman of the Building Committee. A tea was provided in the kitchen to celebrate his birthday and the completion of the building. At the tea A S Rowntree made a presentation on behalf of the Committee of a Wellingtonia Gigantia to the Chairman. In a happy speech he quoted lines written for the occasion. The tree was afterwards planted at Keld Close.

One day this spring my staff I took,

A map and the last poetry book;

By Douthwaite Dale I lingered long

And listened to the lark’s full song.

Down a steep hill I made my way,

Where ‘tween two Nabs a village lay

Stream, ford and bridge, an open green,

No fairer place I e’er have seen.

School, church and chapel – and a Hall!

A little lass came to my call,

“My dear,” I asked, “who built this hall?”

“Why, Mr Burnley – and them all.”

Now what “them all” may mean’s not clear,

But Mr Burnley? “Lives he near?”

I asked the maid, still waiting there.

“Keld Close,” she answered, “him and her!”

Just then a man came strolling by,

With air of wisdom, knowing eye.

“Tis Mr Burnley’s day,” he said,

And the idea is in my head

That when Committee goes to tea,

Which I do hear right soon will be,

A Wellingtonia will be planted

At Keld Close just where’t tree be wanted.

By E E Taylor, Malton        15th April 1939


The Hall was opened on Saturday the 29th April 1939 by the Lady Marjorie Beckett in the place of Lord Feversham who was prevented by illness from performing the Ceremony.

A S Rowntree was in the Chair. He had led us with wisdom and genial help through all our perplexities since August 1937. He told of the happy co-operation among all the people in the village which had led to the final completion of the Hall; and as he quoted the 127th Psalm it seemed as though the Hall – built in goodwill and good fellowship – was dedicated to high purpose for all time: “Except the Lord build the house they labour in vain that build it.”

The building is on a site of approximately 20 perches; the road frontage being 93 feet 6 inches. The foundation is a re-inforced (sic) concrete raft of 12-inch thickness. The walls are of local stone in random courses externally and of plastered brick internally. The roofing is red English pan tiling. The floor of the Main Hall is of oak. A pipeless heating boiler is installed for the heating of the Main Hall while a Cozy stove is in the Billiard Room and an open grate with a boiler back is in the kitchen. Tilley lamps give excellent lighting; though wired for electricity it is not yet available.

The interior measurements are as follows:

Main Hall             Seating capacity 120 (2013 Reduced to 100 to comply with Health & Safety Regs)

Floor Dimensions 35 ft x 24 ft

Stage 13 ft x 24 ft

Kitchen 13 ft x 24 ft

Balcony 15 ft x 24 ft

Cloak Rooms 7 ft 6 inches x 11 ft 6 inches

Billiard Room 26 ft x 18 ft

The stage is fixed with the proscenium measurements being 18 ft and 11 ft 6 inches high.

The walls are rough plaster; woodwork stained brown, the window curtains are of blue Bolton Sheeting and the stage curtains flame velvet.