History of Cranford Village Hall
The history of the Village Hall started in 1800 when Sir Frederick, the 9th Baronet and Rector of both parishes, purchased a wooden hut and sited it on the corner of the field opposite the present hall for use as a Reading Room and Recreational Club. The hall was open every evening from 6pm until 10pm. Newspapers and several games were housed, and was highly successful. Unfortunately, by 1895 two years after the death of Sir Frederick, the hut was in a state of disrepair.
The members of the club felt it would be a good idea to have a memorial fitting for the hall’s founder and late president to have a new hall built and suggestions were put forward at a public meeting where full support was given and monies raised.
The club apparently were in difficulty and struggled on until November 1931; where it was stated in the Parish Magazine that the hall had to be closed due to lack of numbers using the hall. A new committee was formed when Sir F.V.L. Robinson and Mr Birtchnell (Headmaster) were to be joined by two representatives from each group that was still able to use the hall i.e. Infant’s Welfare Centre, Mother’s Meetings and the like. It was mentioned that an amount of money had been put aside to put towards alterations when circumstances permitted.
Alterations took place during the ensuing years. Where fundraising of various kinds took place until 1953.A final repayment was made on a loan in September 1954.
There are other historical interests relating to the hall that can be seen outside. But first we start on the fact that until 2000 the hall had two chimneys, which had to be removed due to the fact they were unsafe.
There is a large ornamental crab apple in the far left of the front grounds of the hall; this tree was planted by the oldest and youngest members of the W.I. to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the movement in 1965. In 1975 other members planted the pink chestnut on the opposite side of the road.
The tree near the end of the wall and the gate was planted on the 70th anniversary of the W.I.
The original gate was given by Thompson and Barlow in 1980 and its 2012 replacement still carries the name.
The tree to the right of the gate was awarded for the efforts of the village during Operation Spring clean in 1952.
Finally, the original railings to the south of the hall grounds having been used to repair the damage done by building works. Those now in position came from the school playground situated in the field opposite the school in Church Lane, St. John’s until 1905
History taken from “A History of Cranford St. Andrew Northamptonshire” with kind permission of Mrs Joy Beeby. The book is available to purchase from Mrs Beeby, please get in touch if you would like a copy.