The current hall opened in March 2019 and has all the amenities you would expect in a modern village hall. It was built on the site of the original Stainton Institute, erected in 1920 and at the heart of local community life for almost 100 years.
With thanks to military historian Maurice Head for providing some of the information below.
1920: The original village hall
A hall was first built on the current site in 1920 and was named the Institute. The maps below are from before and after the build.
The building itself had a fascinating history. Stainton Institute bought a wooden recreation room sold at auction by Fusehill Hospital in Carlisle in December 1919, and employed J. Richardson & Sons to dismantle it and rebuild it in Stainton, as shown in the original accounts:
The room’s original site in Carlisle was that of a workhouse built in 1863 and commandeered by the Government during the First World War to become Fusehill War Hospital for wounded soldiers. By Easter 1917 it had 400 beds. The wooden room provided a recreation space where the injured could relax. After the war, the site became a workhouse once more and the recreation shed was sold. It made an ideal village hall, with a large room for events, a reading room, a kitchen, cloakrooms and a storage area:
Almost 100 years at the heart of village life
This recycled hall was at the heart of Stainton village life for almost 100 years. The committee’s minutes books provide a rich history of events, including:
- A Farmers Ball was held on 24 February 1921 – admission 6 shillings for gents and 4 shillings for ladies.
- Dances were frequently held in the 1930s – admission 2 shillings including supper.
- In 1934 a special meeting was held following reports of bad conduct in the Reading Room. Things had been thrown around and the walls had been written on. While “no-one had actually been caught in the act”, this led to the caretaker resigning.
- A painting from the 1940s shows the end of the original wooden village hall:
- Hire charges in the 1950s were: whist drive £1, dance £1 15 shillings, concert £1 15 shillings, wedding £2.
- Events in the 1960s included: carpet bowls, a car treasure hunt, a Halloween party and disco with competitions for best adult fancy dress costume and best turnip lantern, Christmas Whist Drives, summer garden fetes, WI meetings and a Youth Club…
- Monthly dances started in the 1960s and continued into the 1970s with bands including She Syndicate, the Penruddock Lads, Jaw Bones and the Lemon Grass group.
- Old events continued into the 1980s, and domino drives and cream cracker eating competitions were added…
- … Dominos is evidently a controversial sport though. Minutes record that in the 1980s “a date stamp was purchased to prevent fraud at the Domino Drive” and in 1996 there was a dispute with Greystoke and Watermillock about the ‘claiming date’ for the Domino Drive.
- Activities in the 1990s included the 1.30 Club, bowling, the WI, Cubs and Rainbows, and the Youth Club.
2019: The new village hall
The original hall was extended, improved and re-roofed over the years, but finally a more modern structure was needed. The Stainton Village Hall Committee spent over ten years fundraising with many residents helping by holding sales, events, quizzes and other community events, to get the money to rebuild the hall.
With this local funding, plus generous support from the Big Lottery Fund, Cumbria Waste Management Environment Trust, Dacre Parish Council, Eden District Council, The Lakes Free Range Egg Company, Garfield Weston Foundation, Hadfield Trust, and Cumbria County Council, the funds were eventually in place to build a new hall.
Construction began in April 2018. Among the many local contractors involved, John Richardson & Son, who 100 years earlier had moved the first village hall from Carlisle to Stainton, installed the new kitchen.
The new hall was officially opened on 22 March 2019 by the children of Stainton C of E Primary School.
Local suppliers and contractors were used wherever possible when the new hall was built, including:
- Main Contractor – Thomas Armstrong
- Kitchen Design & Fitting – John Richardson & Son, Penrith
- Domestic Appliances – Northern Vacuum, Carlisle
- Commercial Appliances – Appliance Superstore, Kendal
- Audio Visual Installation – Cannan & Brown Ltd, Penrith