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" The Loweswater Village Hall "

 

A collection of photos and local history

surrounding the Loweswater Village School

and the subsequent conversion

to become the Village Hall.

 

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.

 

The fall of the tree at the village hall reminded me I had a series of photos all about the hall

including ones taken from William & Marion's Vicker's scrapbook file which they let me explore. 

With their permission I reproduce it here along with a few of my own photos from the site over the years.

For lovers of local history, this is one for you.

Like all good archives it is open to additions if you have any extra photos, names or other recollections you can add.

Please give me a call or email me via the link at the base of this page so that I can add them to these memories.

The Loweswater Village Hall taken on a Summer's day in 2007

The view hasn't changed much until the trees on the right fell down this week.

It must have the best "Village Hall View" in Britain

. . . all the way up the Buttermere Valley to Haystacks with Green and Great Gable beyond.

It stands on the high ground at the confluence of three valleys, Buttermere, Lorton and Loweswater.

In the Cumbrian dialect three is "tethera" . . . but more of that later.

The hall used to be a simple double storey building and it served as the local school.

Several of the older generation of the valley started their school life here.

The school teacher lived in the upstairs accommodation, the main downstairs room being the single classroom for all ages.

An old newspaper photo of the building, in use as the school.

Prior to this it seems that Rose Cottage was used as the school, the teacher living in that same small cottage at that time.

This was the class of the following year . . . 1936.

Eventually class numbers dropped and the school was closed by the Cumberland Education Committee.

Obviously some tension here as the three of the six remaining students lost their education for a time until new travel arrangements were made . . .

At this time the Loweswater Village Hall was a 1st World War wooden hut

which had been transported and re-built in the small quarry area just down from the school.

Overgrown now, there are still signs of the old blocks foundations and the front gate on the left

on the way down the road towards the vicarage.

After the 2nd WW plans were a-foot to improve the hall as it was getting old and "not a good fire risk in any sense of the word".

The new Village Hall was potentially going to built down by the red phone box (in place of the old smithy).

An estimate suggests £3,000 would create a modern extension to the old school and so create a new village hall.

It would be another six or seven years before firm plans were made.

Hi Roger,

I’ve followed the Loweswater cam website for many years and always find it informative and interesting and have often followed either parts, or all of various walks. Now, what caught my eye on your latest communication is that the you say that the old village hall was an ex World War 1 hut.

I live near Cannock Chase in Staffordshire; the Chase had two training camps during WW1 each capable of holding 20,000 men, all of which were housed in wooden huts 60Ft x 20ft mounted on concrete pillars. At the end of hostilities the camps were dismantled and sold off usually by auction during 1920-22.

I don’t suppose you know if the Loweswater hut began life down here? The reason I ask is that I am a volunteer walk leader round the WW1 camps and having extra info to imbibe would be an interesting slant to pass onto our group and to the walking public that join us.

Thanks a lot and keep up the good work!  Ned Edwards.

 

 

A telegram of 28th November 1958 gives an opening date for the new hall.

The first from Frank Chamberlain to Joan Robinson . . . to be read out on the night

and the second from Barker and Sheila, Dave Robinson's parents.  Sheila was Harry Spencer's sister.

The Reverend Geoffrey White in attendance.
Mrs W.B. Robinson at the opening ceremony.

To Table (left to right):  Joan Robinson, Mrs W.B. Robinson, Rev G.H. White,

Mr CB Harwood (Cumberland Council of Social Services) and Mrs F.M. Dent (National Council for Social Services)

Hold your cursor over the picture to see the original handwritten names.

William Bird Robinson at a cheque presentation in front of a packed village hall audience.

Two more recent pictures of the completed new Village Hall.

The hall was an ideal size for functions as it could seat so many.

The school rooms in the older half of the building were converted to kitchens and a smaller committee or meeting room,

consequently it soon became the social centre of the village for regular meetings and other social evenings.

A request to hire the hall in 1962 was noted in the folder.

If you remember going to a dance or unusual function at the hall do let me know.

The hall acted as catalyst to many relationships . . . was this where you first met someone special ?

Maud Vickers is first, then Rev Geoffrey White and Joan Robinson (later to become Mrs White),

and Chris Todd with the smart jumper and combed hair on this side of the table.

Names include :  Nellie (serving), Kathy Bond (in brown)

and on the opposite side, Danny and Kath Leck, Val and Kenny Bell, José Norman(in pink) and George Dowler.

The new stage was large enough to hold the band . . . for an evening of dancing.

One half of 'Double Trouble' was Billy Bowman who has the music shop in Cockermouth.

Danny Leck and Kathy Bond enjoy the music but chose to sit this one out.

Hi Roger,
Many thanks for the photo and email. The name of my partner in Double Trouble is James Garner.

It is about 65 years since I first played at Loweswater with my fathers band “Billy Bowmans Band” which I took over running in the 60’s. The Double Trouble period was approx 1985 – 1996.

Cheers Billy

 

Kath Leck (in green) and Danny opposite her, Val Bell and Kenny,

as Marion & William "strip the willow". . . in dance terms that is !

Local dignitaries, Mr & Mrs Tommy Thomas open a local garden fête but what year ?

A more recent press cutting marking the fitting of new UPVC double glazed windows.

[ Note:  just the price of the windows exceeded the original cost of the hall extension.]

2005 and repairs after some storm damage.

In 2006 the village celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the 'new' hall.

Marion Vickers (in the blue patterned dress) William Vickers and Alec Bond speaking at the afternoon ceremony.

behind are Kathy Bond (sitting) David Norman in the cap (from Red Howe) and Annie Short.

- - - o o o - - -

William received correspondence from one ex-member of the village who couldn't be there on the day . . .

William and Michael were two of the six final pupils at the old school when it closed . . . haven't they grown !

- - - o o o - - -

Michael Shield mentioned Geoffrey White's Dance Club.

If you remember going to a dance or unusual function at the hall do let me know.

The hall acted as catalyst to many relationships . . . was this where you first met someone special ?

Afternoon teas on offer at the fiftieth celebrations.

- - - o o o - - -

The village has often supported an amateur dramatics group which has waxed and waned over the years.

Early Days . . .

Many of these photos must have been taken in the old wooden village hall

by the look of the wooden rafters, but I bet it made fixing the scenery down much easier.

Names are ricky here but the Rev White can be spotted, with Bobby Salkeld next to him in the back row.

Jenny Hope (first in second row) and Audrey Burridge (the third along).

 

Was this a production of "Charlie's Aunt" somewhere around 1926 to 1930 ?

Irene Saville (B&W dress) Harry Spencer seater right, the others are unknown.

The same production it seems.

 

Hi Roger,    I am Sheila Drewery (nee Cunningham late of Palace How, Loweswater).

My late Mum and Dad in the players group brought back memories.   I have some write ups somewhere will let you have copies. My late Dad was Stage Manager and my Mum was a really good actress. This was prior to 1960 when we left.

The early photos must have been in the 40s if not earlier, as Mam and Dad didn't move to Loweswater until around 1944.


I was also asked by Marion Vickers to write a poem about the Village Hall for the 50th anniversary, which I believe is still hanging in the Hall. I was at the 50th Anniversary and took many photos.  I will have to find these too. It was a lovely night too. So pleased I went.

Kind regards,   Sheila

P.s.  It was my Mum's handwriting on the telegram from when she was post mistress at the Palace How Post Office.

A video tape of the Christmas carol does exist but at present I have no additional slides or prints to hand from this time.

If you have some you would be willing to let us copy or scan please get in touch.

- - - o o o - - -

Ann and I moved into the village in 2002 and I remember being impressed by the production of "When we are Married" that November.

By the next year I had joined the stage crew under the guiding hand of Charles Crane.

His wife Sandra was a key member of the backstage crew which included doing the costumes and 'make up' on the night.

During the dress rehearsal I managed to catch a photo of the 2003 cast members.

" It Runs in the Family "

a comedy by Ray Cooney

performed by The Tethera Valley Players

Thurs. Fri. and Sat, 27/28/29th November 2003.

(left to right) :

Laurence Braithwaite, Doug Beebee, Betty Smith, Jonathan Meadley,

Ian Mitchell, John Thomson, Ann Beebee, Ann Dickens, John Hudson.

Seated: Penny Leck, Ron Dickens, Laura Todd

 

   

 

Thurs 17th to Sat 19th November 2005.

"Breath of Spring"

A Tethera Valley Players Production

A comedy in three acts by Peter Coke

 

Cast :

Ian Mitchell, Betty Smith, Laura Todd, Margaret Herd,

Ann Beebee and Ann Hiley.

 

Just before the production was scheduled to run

we were greeted with the sad news that Sandra and Charles had died.

The play went ahead but was dedicated to their memory.

2008 saw the stage transformed into an oak panelled drawing room for . . .

" A Secondary Cause of Death "

by Peter Gordon

Performed: Thursday to Saturday, 20th to 22nd November 2008

A year later the November Floods stopped the production almost on the eve of the first night.

The dress rehearsal was complete, the sound and lighting in place, and the audience and players unable to reach the hall.

It was postponed till the February of the next year . . . 2010.

February 5th, 6th and 7th 2010

" Up and Running "

by Derek Benfield

Directed by John Thompson

at the Loweswater Village Hall.

The 2010 Cast :

Penny Leck, Alan Marples, Sheila King,

Peter Bergius, Carol Marples and John Thompson.

2011 saw an adventurous set complete with two back gardens, a water feature and trees !

" Party Piece . . . by Richard Harris"

at Loweswater Village Hall

Directed by John Thompson

February 17th, 18th and 19th 2011.

The 2011 Cast:

Alan Marples, Margaret Herd, Carol Marples, John Thompson,

Sheila King, Penny Leck and Brian Herd.

Remember: Right click on the highlighted link above

will enable you to open a full report on each of these recent plays on the main Loweswatercam Web site.

- - - o o o - - -

With the director moving away and several of the stalwart actors reaching the age of retirement

the Tethera Players are currently 'taking a rest' between plays till the spirit moves a new generation of village folk to take to the stage once again.

- - - o o o - - -

Nowadays Loweswater Village Hall is also used for all sorts of occasions,

from wedding receptions to overnight accommodation for visiting Mountain Rescue teams.

Further links on : 

Jenna Carpenter Weddings (Philippa Bell's Wedding)

Melbreak Communities             BBC Doomsday History Pages   

Enquiries about booking the hall should be made to the Caretakers, Tod and Sheila Reid on 01900 85718 or email them here

 

 

 

Many thanks to William and Marion for compiling the scrapbook from which much of this article has been drawn.

This site best viewed with . . . lots of local information from friends.

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Back to the Loweswatercam Home Page

A previous report highlighting the Hall - 27th April 2007 A local Loweswater Day

Previous Loweswatercam walk report - 6th January 2016 - An Old Mosser Road Stroll

Next walk - 11th January 2016 - A Cold Rannerdale Knotts