|Everyone in Winsham is familiar with the Jubilee Hall. At the centre of the village, it has been the setting for innumerable meetings and performances. There are few who have not attended a village pantomime, play or concert; a wide range of age groups from Brownies to Over Sixties have pursued their activities here in the Jubilee Hall, most
having sung or danced, painted or exercised, celebrated a family occasion or at public meetings, argued and
discussed. It was used as a centre for the war
efforts in two World Wars-for recruitment, an 'overflow school for
evacuees' and lots of other purposes. It is a Polling Centre for national
and local elections. There is very little that happens in the village
community in which the Jubilee Hall does not play some part.
If you look across Church Street at the Hall you can clearly see the dates 1837 and 1887, which commemorates the building of the Hall in the year of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Inside the dates are repeated either side of the main window in red and gold. Lord Bridport of Cricket St Thomas built the Hall for the benefit of the village, both as a meeting place and for educational purposes: it was referred to as a reading room. Winsham Parish Council have used the building since it was formed in1894, and on December 13, 2014 , the parish celebrated the 120th Anniversary of its first meeting, to the day, with a dinner, a play based on the history of the Parish Council, written and produced by Stella Abbey, which was followed by community singing led by Tony Meech. A record of this event can be seen by clicking HERE.
The Parish Council have used the Jubilee Hall for its meetings since 1894, and also, for many years, was responsible for its upkeep. If you visit the gallery of this web museum devoted to the history of the Parish Council many references will be found to problems of management and up-keep. The cost of maintaining the fabric and facilities were always burdensome to the Parish Council, and it was the need to raise some £6,000 to install a heating system that made it necessary, under the terms of a grant from the Glubenkian Foundation, for the Parish Council to apply for charitable status for the hall. In 1965 it became a Charity, administered by a management committee, elected from village organisations and by parish residents. A member of the Parish Council continues to sit on the management committee as a Representative member. For many years, between the two world wars, within the memory of older people in the village the highlight of the week was the "sixpenny hop" on Saturday nights.
These were even more eagerly attended during the Second World War when American soldiers from the temporary camp at Cricket St.Thomas came along. Flirtations, on the part of the girls and fights, started by the anxious local lads, were a common occurrence. During this period, on weekdays the Jubilee Hall was also used as an 'overflow' school room, made necessary by the influx of children evacuated from the cities.
The need for on-going maintenance and
To meet new safety regulations, plastic chairs,
curtains in fire resistant materials, Exit signs and circuit breakers were
introduced in the 1980s. In 1989 part of the chimney fell down in a hurricane (damaging the then playgroup leader's car) so the distinctive chimney was shortened.
2004-Jubilee Hall faces closure
This was was successfully achieved as a result of a
wonderful community effort led by a very active Jubilee Hall Management
Committee. Grants were obtained from South Somerset District Council,
Defra, Awards for All, Wyvern Waste Management, and a number of other smaller grant
providers. The Parish Council gave £15,000,which was raised on the
precept. Local people were also very generous with time and money, and
this, with local fund raising efforts raised some £30,000. In about
eighteen months sufficient money had been raised to commence work. The
Hall closed at the end of June 2006 and reopened in January 2007.The
transformation was remarkable. The opportunity had been taken to totally
update the hall's facilities and appearance .
In response to the efforts of the community the Hall Committee was determined that the hall would not cost the people of Winsham any more to hire, in real terms, than it did previously, a promise that - to date - they have been able to keep (2009).
At the time of the major renovation in 2006 it was always accepted that this could only be regarded as Phase 1 of the work that was needed to make the hall suitable for the standards required for the 21st century. Phase 2 was always regarded as replacement of the main windows at the front of the building. The largest window was suffering from serious rot in the wooden frame. Furthermore the glazing was of plain glass, with poor insulation qualities. With the rapid escalation in the cost of fuel oil, and the related concerns with the carbon pollution associated with its use, the need for double glazing was becoming essential if the use of fuel oil was to be minimised. This window was replaced in October 2014 at a cost of some £3,500, funded form Jubilee Hall's financial reserves. The other three windows were replaced at the beginning of 2016 at a cost of £9,000, funded by Awards for All. In addition during the nine years since 2006, major work was done on the plumbing system, a boundary wall was rebuilt, a patio was laid in the garden area, and a modern digital piano was purchased ,to replace an aging and expensive to maintain conventional instrument. An improved digital projector system was also installed, affording greatly improved ease of use. The high cost of installation was greatly reduced by the work done by Keith Fowler, helped by his son Jordan, on a voluntary basis. The hall also subscribes to a public access broadband service, an essential facility.
Keith Fowler also under takes the annual legal requirement to test all of the Jubilee Hall's portable electrical appliances, saving a considerable annual expenditure.
The Hall also became the home of the Parish Office in early 2015, letting out on a long term basis the smallest its meeting rooms. The space could be ill afforded, but in view of the importance of the facility to the Parish Council, it was felt that it was in the communities best interests to help in this respect, as no other premises were available.
On December 28th 2015, Phil Kershaw died. Phil had been the Hon. Treasurer of the Jubilee Hall since 1999, and had played a major role in the fund raising for the 2006 renovation and the subsequent financial management of the work. He continued to be actively involved in the financial affairs of the hall until his untimely death at age 80. He is greatly missed.
For more information, including Annual Parish
Reports and Accounts since 2004, Minutes of Management Committee meetings,
and much more, click on the link below.
Winsham Web Museum. All rights reserved.