Village Halls Week - how GRCC has supported halls since 1926

Village Halls Week starts today, and with our 100th birthday coming up this year, we’ve been looking back into our archives.

Helping Gloucestershire’s local communities to build village halls was a major part of the work of GRCC in our early years.  In 1926 we conducted a field survey of all the village halls in Gloucestershire. Many were just tin sheds or old army huts moved from Salisbury Plain, and many were cold, damp, with bad acoustics or, in one case, for men only!

GRCC was able to put forward village hall building, conversion, and restoration projects to a special fund provided by the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust.  The first Gloucestershire village hall to be helped was South Cerney, with a loan of £150 towards the £600 total costs for converting an old thatched barn into a village hall.

South Cerney Village Hall


By 1931, seven more halls had been helped with loans or grants from the Carnegie Trust provided through GRCC: Ashleworth, Childswickham, Dowdeswell, Minsterworth, Hempsted, Bibury and Dymock.

Starting in the 1920s many books and pamphlets were being published to help communities to plan and build village halls.  Some in our collection are shown in the photo below.

They contain advice, model designs, case studies, and sometimes wonderful old adverts for the sorts of things that people building a village hall will need, such as windows, chairs, and heating.

GRCC has always been very active in supporting the building and running of village halls, to improve the lives of rural communities.  The introduction to our 1932 annual report described a village hall as “the first need of a village”, but goes on to say that “for the village, the possession of a Hall should be the beginning and not the end”.      

Today, we have the Village Halls Finder on our website, and our Community Development Team often helps village hall committees and trustees with advice on governance, grants, health and safety law and so on.