A history of the Church Rooms written in 1979
The history of the Church Rooms below was written by Jack Field in 1979, when the building celebrated its golden jubilee.
The photographs were taken during the celebrations and show the Rev Patrick Revell on the left.
50 YEARS OR MORE QUORN CHURCH ROOM[S]
A Brief History written by Jack Field on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Church Rooms 1979
MAKING THE PLANS
In the early 1920's, the Parochial Church Council felt there was a strong need for an Assembly Room, with the increasing Church Community and the expansion of the village following the First World War. Meetings and social events, having previously been held in either the old Day School [at the vicarage], Village Hall, or even at times in the Church itself, were causing much inconvenience. Church land in the form of gardens existed in Church Lane and these were considered to be an ideal site for a new building, and despite a little opposition in some quarters, a sub-committee was formed in 1922 to pursue such a project and to raise the necessary funds, without having to call on normal Church income.
RAISING THE MONEY
For the next few years, with Mr. Jack Martin and later Mr. E.B. Fewkes acting as secretaries, an immense amount of hard work was put into organising fund-raising efforts, and with the generosity of so many, within four years a pleasing amount had accrued. Many of us still recall the Annual Fete held on Draper's Field with its village Fancy Dress Parade; its visiting bands and the renowned Daily Mail Push Ball as well as a tennis tournament. Profits from the fete alone usually ranged around the £200 mark, which for those days was a wonderful achievement. As a result, by 1927 there was £927 in the kitty, and by June 1929 sufficient money was available to proceed with the project to build at a cost of £1,100. Whilst the building itself amounted to that sum, one had to appreciate that furnishings etc., were also a necessity, and one interesting minute reports on an offer of 86½ chairs: having been promised from various sources towards the necessary total of 120 chairs. Obviously the ½ chair was a cash equivalent!
THE GREAT DAY
Within five months of placing the order with Messrs. E.B. Fewkes (Builders in Quorn), the Hall was ready for occupation, and a Service of Dedication was held on December 21st. 1929, with the then Archdeacon of Loughborough, the Venerable W.P. Hurrell performing the Dedication. Not surprisingly, the Room became extremely popular and with private lettings and social events it proved self-supporting and happily not a liability on Church funds. Many events were planned for each year and regular Programmes of Church Room Events were published in both Spring and Autumn. These were a popular piece of literature in many homes.
THE SHADOW OF WAR
The War years of 1939-45 were naturally quieter times with the black-out and so many people away on important duties, but social gatherings were still arranged and it was very pleasing to receive the support of Service Personnel who were in the district, particularly members of the A.T.S. As was to be expected concern arose over the big drop in income, and but for the devotion of a few, particularly Mr. and Mrs. Jack Martin and Miss Mabel Bradley with their regular Saturday night Whist Drives, we should hardly have kept our heads above waters.
PEOPLE AND PROBLEMS
Despite the quiet era following upon the war, a strengthened committee with Miss Mabel Bradley still as Secretary, and Miss Elsie Bramley as Treasurer (now Mrs Topping and still our Treasurer after 37 years of valued service), had to look to essential renovations to the rooms. It is interesting to note that during this period an estimate for painting the whole exterior for £45 was readily accepted, while one for £32 six years later was turned down as too expensive: A sign of the times and the thoughts of different committees, but what a change compared with today's prices: To paint today might be nearer £1,000. Back as far as 1949 the committee of that time were beginning to think of plans to extend the Rooms. At that time there was by no means any cash available and in fact finance to meet normal running costs was a great problem.
THROUGH THE HATCH!
Until 1954, the kitchen as a working area had proved to be very cramped and the door from the kitchen into the Hall as we know have it did not exist. Kitchen helpers had to go around the outside to reach the Hall, or scramble through the hatch. However, in 1954 the Church Council allocated £250 for Kitchen extension and the new door. In 1956 Rawlins School made use of the Rooms as a class-room, but by 1958 the financial position had again become precarious; at times members of the committee met outstanding accounts from their own pockets. The bank balance dropped to £16 at one point and caused many worried meetings to be held. Certainly letting rates had been ridiculously low for years; these were raised and extra events organised, which just pulled us through. It was in 1958, after 19 years as Secretary, that Miss Mabel Bradley had to resign owing to ill-health, and once again Mr. Jack Martin stepped into the breach, with Mrs Brewin, Mrs Wheeler and Mrs Blackshaw. Also in 1958, Mrs Mary Halford (Mary as we all know her) became Caretaker, a duty which she loves and has performed faithfully for 21 years. It was also in 1958 that we held our first Harvest Supper which has become a well-recognised annual event ever since, and now attracts nearly 200 people each year.
TIME TO EXTEND
1960 saw another change in Secretary. Mr Jack Martin had to retire after 36 years of devoted service and he was succeeded by Mrs T. Adkins, another staunch member of our Church community. She was one of the many who could see the need for an Extension. In fact it was in the first year of her office that the Committee agreed to start an Extension Fund, and such schemes as 'buy a brick' and 'Buy a Chair' were launched. One recalls the Temperature Chart and Brick Chart. The names of the donors can still be found on the underside of the wooden chairs we still use today. In 1961 the Leicestershire Education Authority urgently required a Hall for serving School Meals. This had been accommodated in the old Scout Hut, but now permission was given for the Service to be moved to the Church Rooms. This was a great help financially and our funds improved greatly with this regular booking and other social events. In 1963 Mrs. Adkins decided to go to live in Jerusalem with her son, Canon Harold Adkins, whom we welcome this year to our Jubilee Service; and so with great regret we had to accept Mrs Adkins' resignation. Although her period of office was only three years her contribution to the Church Rooms and the Church itself is beyond praise.
To elect her successor proved very difficult, but in the end Mrs. Phyllis Field was persuaded to take on the job temporarily; and now after 16 years she still carries on the good work:
THE FIRE AND AFTERWARDS
By 1965 there appeared a distinct likelihood that we would be able to build an Extension. Fund-raising had become enthusiastic and one very kind person offered £250 if we could find 11 others to do the same. But then the whole business came to an abrupt halt. Our parish church was badly damaged by fire and all our efforts had to be transferred to its restoration as soon as possible. 1968 saw the widespread expansion of Rawlins School, our next-door neighbours, and with its development into a Community College it was feared our lettings might suffer. Happily this has proved never to be the case and in fact Church Room lettings have continually improved. By 1970, the committee felt that definite 'Diana for the Church Room Extension to include a stage and new meeting rooms could be forwarded. The Church Council approved, and the project got under way at a cost of £12,000. The Church Council allocated £4,000 from Stewardship; a sum of £2,500 from the Morley bequest (with the kind permission of the executors) was used, together with the accumulated Church Room Fund. Messrs F. Sleath & Sons were contracted to carry out than work under Mr D. Harmer as architect and an old friend of the village.
The Extension was duly completed by July 1972 and a special Dedication was performed on August 4th by the present Archdeacon of Loughborough, the Venerable Harold Lockley. From thereon the Church Rooms have never looked back in popularity.
New furnishings had to be considered and we received one very generous gift in the form of the new Stage Curtains donated by Mr. John and Mr. Robert Beardsley. They both ceremonially opened the curtains at the Harvest Supper in 1972. Clocks too were kindly presented for all rooms, including a replacement of the original clock in the main Hall which had been Presented in memory of Mr. E.C. Laundon in 1929) The original disappeared mysteriously during a rummage sale in 1971! It was fitting that the larger room at the back of the stage should be used as a Parish Office and has proved immensely helpful. This history you read was printed there. The other two new rooms were named after Mr Morley and Col. Toller who had both meant so much to our Church life over so many years. It was good that their names be perpetuated in this way.
And so 50 years or so after those early pioneers had first envisaged a Church Room for Quorn, their foresight has been repaid magnificently in one of the most important meeting places of our village and a real centre of our Church life. The expense of running and improving the building has been shouldered by a succession of devoted workers and generous benefactors, to whom we are most grateful. In 1978 we see the finances in a sound state. Our lettings last year brought in over £1,000, which covers the annual running costs. We also have a small capital sum ready for further improvements and maintenance. We conclude the brief history, we refer again to the fine work of so many kind volunteers and to the wonderful support received from our Church Family and other residents of Quorn. These are many, but we feel we must record especially the names of Mr and Mrs. Jack Martin, Miss Mabel Bradley, Mr. C. Joiner, Mrs. Elsie Topping (nee Bramley), Mrs Mary Halford, Mr Robert Bishop and Mr. and Mrs John Field, to name but a few.
It is interesting to record those who have served as Officers.
Mr J. Martin 1923-25, 1958-60
Mr E Fewkes 1925-29
Mr Joiner 1929-36
Mr J. Field 1936-39
Miss Mabel Bradley 1939-58
Mrs T Adkins 1960-63
Mrs P. Field 1963, still serving
E.C. Laundon 1922-27
C. Hardy 1927-43
Mrs Topping 1943 still serving
Long Service: Some eight members have served over 35 years each
Thanks be to God