History of Tilshead Village Hall
Tilshead Village Hall, built about 1854 as Tilshead Village’s first national school, was a Church of England School and has two crosses, one on the roof and the other on the porch; the date is carved on one of them. Records show the School was extended and refurbished in 1874. When the new Village School was built behind the Church, the old school became known as Tilshead Church Institute. The Institute, as it was known, was used by the Church for wedding receptions, parties and during the last war dances, whist drives etc.
The old building fell into disrepair; the roof leaked, wooden floor boards were rotting and the old horsehair type plaster was falling off in large patches. The Church, instead of having all this very expensive rebuild done, decided to sell the building to the Tilshead Parish Council for £1.00. This was completed in 1973, and the conveyance drawn, stating it was to be used only as the Village Hall; also in the conveyance, it stated that although the sale and deeds were held by the Parish Council, it was to be run by trustees comprising of representatives of Village organisations: Parish Council, Baptist Church, Tilshead Whist Club, and Tilshead Girl Guides plus 2 co-opted members. The original committee then set about fund-raising for the repair work; grants were given by Salisbury District Council, Wiltshire County Council and a huge donation from a fund set up during World War II, known as ‘The Church of England Board for the Welfare of Her Majesty’s Forces Within the Diocese of Salisbury’; this fund had grown vast through interest and was difficult for the trustees to allocate. We were lucky to have,as our original chairman of the new Hall Committee, the Reverend Fred Chamberlain, who was Chaplain to the Wiltshire Army Cadet Force, and had contact with the then Chairman of the fund, the Bishop of Sherborne, Jeffrey Pike. Bishop Pike visited us several times during the refurbishment of the Hall and did in fact get quite dirty with old chalk on his smart grey suit!
The Hall was very well used by all groups in the Village, and the committee continued fund-raising and, once again, obtained grants, and managed to raise £16,000.00 for building the new kitchen and toilet block; this was the lowest of three tenders and was built by Derrick Potter, our local Village builder.
In 1995, the Hall was flooded when the springs rose and caused £3,500.00 damage, mainly to the floor tiles. This was covered by the insurance fortunately, from the outset apart from the initial £1.00, all refurbishment and building costs were paid for by the hard working Hall Committee of the day and was never put on to the Parish Precept.
by Frank Druce
Village Hall and Playing Field Committee (Charity 266014)
Chairman- Robert Leachman
Vice Chairman- Russ Lee
Treasurer- Robert Leachman
Co-opted Member – Pella Williams-Duff
Bookings Secretaries – Gill Murray and Theresa Leachman