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The History of the Hall

The building of Aighton, Bayley and Chaigley War Memorial Hall.

By John Holden, Winkley Hall Farm

“Mrs Mary Brown and Mrs Maggie Holden organised a children’s party to celebrate VE Day 1945 in the band room at the Shireburn Arms. Following this they held different functions to raise money for a Memorial hall rather than another War Memorial in the village. Gilbert Melling later joined them and they asked Fr. Vavasour if it would be possible to get some land from Stonyhurst on which to build the Memorial hall. As the farm land at the Bayley Arms was now free from tenancy, a plot was earmarked.

Stonyhurst decided if the land was to be handed over, a proper Deed of Gift was necessary, so they drew up a Trust Deed which outlined how the Memorial Hall was to function, which organisations had a right of membership and the type of committee to run the hall. I think it was 1952 when the Trust Deed was signed by Mary Brown and Gilbert Melling. The committee now consisted of 12 members. In the early 1960s plans were sought as to the type of hall and in 1963 work started on the building. The committee held weekly bingo sessions and fortnightly dances as well as other events to raise money.

Dennis Lakeland was chairman of the committee and he became clerk of works for the building. He brought his digger to dig out the foundations and drainage channels. A firm came and erected a precast concrete shell and Tom Wilson with his workforce were hired to do the foundations and build the stone work.  After this all work was done by voluntary labour. Tom Bailey was clerk or works for the joinery. A soft wood floor was laid diagonally, to be later covered by a maple floor when funds were available.  A dedicated team of volunteers under Tom Bailey’s guidance, including Clifford Haworth, David kay, Paul Younf and myself laid the floor, nailing down the last boards at 10 o’clock the night before the Fete 1964. There was a dance held on the night of the Fete and 420 people attended. There were no doors or furniture. This was the time when ladies wore stiletto heels, so after each dance we had to replace any knots that had fallen through.”

“Dick Whalley and Hubert Wells laid all the drainage pipes and we borrowed an old hay elevator from Stonyhurst to take all the slates onto the roof. All electrical work was done by Alan Duckett and John Marsden and the plumbing by Glbert Melling and the Stonyhurst plumbers (Ken Bolton)

That winter, Tom Bailey with the help of Tom Fazackerly fitted all the doors and finished off the stage and its surround. The windows were fitted by the suppliers. When we were able to purchase a large amount of second hand maple flooring, it was the same team under Tom Bailey who put it down.

The hall was painted throughout by Mr Dalgliesh’s firm he was living at Riversmead. In May 1965 a full week of celebrations was held to mark the official opening of the Memorial Hall. On completion we had an overdraft of £4000 plus money lent by the local farmers. The debt was finally paid off in the 1980s.”