History Articles - Village Hall Disaster

For six years I wrote a short history article in the monthly parish magazine, The Pelican.  One of the articles is shown in the column opposite.

Articles can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate title from the index below.

If anyone has any old photographs or parish information which they would like recorded (for present and future generations to share) then please get in touch with me.

    John Davison (Website Co-ordinator)
           Telephone: 01670 760609
      Email: jdavison26@btinternet.com

63   Dec 2011 We'll Weather the Weather
62   Nov 2011 Alan's Ackl'n Appearances
61   Oct 2011 Ackl'n Marriages 1913-14
60   Sep 2011 Old Photographs Required
59   Jul 2011 A Tower With A Tale To Tell
58   Jun 2011 A Well Kept Secret
57   May 2011 Fishy Business
56   Apr 2011 Acklington Warrior Stone
55   Mar 2011 The Church of St John
54   Feb 2011 Deep and Chrisp
53   Dec 2010 For Whom The Bell Tolls
52   Nov 2010 Which Village?
51   Oct 2010 A Pilot's Memories
50   Sep 2010 Acklington Black Poplar
49   Jul 2010 Street Names
48   Jun 2010 RAF Memorial
47   May 2010 Crowning Glory
46   Apr 2010 Badminton Club
45   Mar 2010 Murder On The Train
44   Feb 2010 Guyzance Tragedy
43   Dec 2009 Acklington Park
42   Nov 2009 Dye House (Part 2)
41   Sep 2009 Dye House (Part 1)
40   Jul 2009 History Making Heads
39   Jun 2009 Acklington Main Street
38   May 2009 James Raymond Smith
37   Apr 2009 The Age of Steam Trains
36   Mar 2009 Fred Wilson
35   Feb 2009 Guyzance School
34   Dec 2008 Acklington W.I.
33   Nov 2008 Lych Gate
32   Oct 2008 Village Hall Disaster
31   Sep 2008 Summer Crowds
30   Jul 2008 Spot The Differences
29   Jun 2008 Sunday School
28   May 2008 National Finalist
27   Apr 2008 What's in A Name
26   Mar 2008 Railway Inn
25   Feb 2008 Osprey
24   Dec 2007 The Guyzance 10
23   Nov 2007 Bowls Club
22   Oct 2007 Village Harvest
21   Sep 2007 Wedding Bliss
20   Jun 2007 The Other Acklington Artist
19   May 2007 The La'Well Tree
18   Apr 2007 The German Spy
17   Mar 2007 The Winter of 47
16   Feb 2007 Les Birkett's Memories
15   Jan 2007 Railway Station
14   Dec 2006 Jane Chapman
13   Nov 2006 Witches
12   Oct 2006 Jack Taylor
11   Sep 2006 Black Ralph
10   Aug 2006 School Photographs
09   Jul 2006 Pig Killings
08   Jun 2006 Village Hall Disaster
07   May 2006 Cricketers
06   Apr 2006 On Yer Bike
05   Apr 2006 Cricket
04   Mar 2006 Mailbag Robbery
03   Feb 2006 Storm of 1886
02   Jan 2006 Football
01   Dec 2005 Help Required

Acklington Village Hall has been looking quite smart this spring, particularly with all the colourful tulips at the entrance. Soon the hall should be looking even smarter. Readers will be pleased to learn that grants have been secured to help make much needed improvements. The new improvements will include a replacement front entrance plus disabled facilities, including a disabled toilet. The present building has remained largely unchanged since it was officially opened by Lady Milburn on 6th June 1925 (not the present Lady Milburn I hasten to add) so the new improvements will be very much welcomed.

I wonder how many present parishioners are aware that the hall was originally due to open in February 1924 but it was completely wrecked by a gale just a few days before the official opening ceremony. The following extract is taken from a newspaper article written at the time.

A gloom has been cast over the village of Acklington by the blowing over of its newly erected War Memorial Hall early last Saturday morning, by the terrific gale which swept over the district. The hall only needed some slight painting inside for completion, and was to have been handed over to the Committee on February 5th, Monday first, when the opening ceremony was to have been performed by Sir Leonard Milburn.

At midnight on Friday, when a constable passed the building, it was all right, so that the catastrophe must have occurred at some time between that hour and 7 o’clock on Saturday morning, when the hall was found to be in ruins by Mr. J. K. Waggot, who lives at the Post Office, the next building to the hall.

The hall is almost completely raised to the ground, only the gable ends remaining. It was in a very exposed position, and stood broadside on to Friday night’s gale, which is declared by the keeper of the Coquet Lighthouse to be the severest experienced in the district for a considerable time.

Early on Monday, a party of Acklington men and lads commenced helping the builders to make order out of the debris on the site of the building, removing broken slates and clearing bricks, etc. The damage is estimated at well over £400. A lucky circumstance was that £30 worth of chairs, which had just been purchased, had not been put into the hall.

The cost of the hall was £800 and the money was raised from public subscriptions, whist drives, bazaars, entertainments, etc. Mr Turner, retired schoolmaster and secretary of the Memorial Hall Fund, said he was quite satisfied the workmanship was all right. The fault lay with the night.

We can only imagine how it felt for those in the parish who had worked and laboured for years to raise funds to get that hall and then found that just when their hopes were going to be realised that the whole structure was lying in ruins. Thankfully they decided that the hall had to be rebuilt and they set about raising yet more funds. The committee gave instructions for a building of much greater stability that the original one and less than five months later all their efforts were rewarded.

Those determined parishioners put their hearts and souls into improving the amenities of their community by providing a village hall. Even the disaster that befell their scheme on 30th January 1924 did not stop them achieving their goal. We surely owe it to them to carry on their good work and do all we can to maintain and improve Acklington Village Hall for present and future generations.

                                                                   John Davison 01670 760609