Good Things Come To Those Who Wait!
Our Village Hall

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By Helen Morgan

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First Published 6/8/2021
Last Updated 13/1/2022

 

An idea, thought of in 1948, that was fulfilled in 1965, 17 years later.

       Public Hall          Village Hall 

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Fig. 1 Village Hall 2021
© Colin Barnsley
Click On Image To View
 

Where the Social Club stands on Finney Lane and the corner of East Avenue, once stood a less substantial building, more like an old Nissen hut   . This was the public meeting place for the small number of residents who lived in Heald Green and Long Lane.  It was at a meeting, in this Long Lane Institute, that our Ratepayers' Association was formed way back in 1927  . As the population began to grow in the 1930s, a new building was built there in 1935 called The Heald Green and Long Lane Institute. It was bigger and was for men only, although ladies were allowed to attend. Councillor Sharples said “It provides a place where the people of Heald Green can meet and discuss matters concerning their general welfare”   . It also housed a small library at the back   .

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Fig. 2 King George V Jubilee Procession
passing The Institute, Finney Lane 1935

© Heinekey Family
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Fig. 3 The same location on Finney Lane today
Heald Green Social Club 2021

© Colin Barnsley
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In 1948 the first discussions for a new public hall took place at a Ratepayers' meeting   .
 
There was another building in the village that was used for social events. It was called Brookside and was owned by the Ricketts family   . The library was there from 1958 and behind it was Heald’s Dairy. It was in this building, during the population boom of the early 60s, that newly formed clubs and societies would meet. These included the Heald Green Theatre Club   , Heald Green Photographic Society   , Heald Green Trefoil Guild   , Heald Green Historical Society   ,  Heald Green Flower Arranging Society    and the Heald Green Horticultural Society (formed 1940)   . 

The Heald Green Hotel was also playing host to clubs and societies. These included the Heald Green Townswomen’s Guild, afternoon and evening groups    and an Old Tyme Dance Club (this had been formed in 1950)   . In St Catherine’s Church Hall there was a Darby and Joan Club formed from the WRVS in 1956   .

 

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Plans to build a public hall on the site with the clinic and the library were eventually abandoned by February 1963. Since 1957/8 plans, costs, public enquiries and ministerial decisions had been ongoing and were all now stopped due to a credit squeeze by the Chancellor, Selwyn Lloyd (Conservative). The clinic and library buildings were to go ahead, leaving a council decision to proceed with the Public Hall on Outwood Road being deferred. There was concern that a loan of £20,000+ would be needed and the residents rates had already gone up recently   .

At last, by December 1963, decisions were moving forward and the council had agreed to build one. For the Ratepayers the decision filled them with “intense satisfaction”. They summed up the idea of a community hall by saying “the ideal which we all cherish most is that Heald Green with all it’s rapid development, should retain and increase the sense of community”   .
 
The site chosen for this new building was, in 1841, the Old Meadow owned by Matthew Davies, plot 488. In his plot in the adjacent field there was an orchard and some farm buildings   . By 1871 this had become Oldhall Farm and another orchard was planted on the fields that would become part of our playing fields   .

 

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Fig. 4 No. 488 Old Meadow, Tithe Map 1841
© F. & T. Mitchell / St. James Church
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Fig. 5 Oldhall Farm, OS Time Slider
Map 1888-1913 v 2020

© ARCHI Information Systems Ltd
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By June 1964 tenders had been received and a committee meeting was expected to accept a proposal. It would then be up to the Minister of Housing and Local Government to sanction approval to move forward   .

In the Contact magazine of September 1964 it was said that a good start had been made on the building with the hope to finish it in April 1965   . By December 1964 the completion date had moved slightly to May 1965   .

During the AGM of 1965 the committee reported that they hoped the opening would not be delayed due to the lack of furniture. This remark was because that is what had happened with the library, causing a delay   .  This tongue in cheek remark was commented on by residents! The committee assured that furniture and fittings had been ordered by March 1965 and everything was on schedule   .

At last the day arrived, June 19th 1965, and a grand opening. June’s Contact magazine had a sketch of the new building drawn by Roger Pollitt of 33 Queensway. The Public Hall was opened by M.P. Wm Shepherd (Conservative)  and the Ratepayers held a buffet dance as the first official function there. It was hoped that all the new cultural and social organisations who were meeting elsewhere would now try there. However it was noted that the rental charges imposed by the Council were higher than those put forward by the Ratepayers. ”We look forward to the Public Hall in Outwood Road becoming the cultural and social centre of the village”. This quote sums up their vision from 1948    .

 

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Village Hall 1965

Fig. 6 Sketch of the Public Hall from Contact Magazine, June 1965
© Ratepayers' Association
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They were right. Clubs and societies started to move over to the new hall and by December 1965 the old Brookside building closed. The village continued to expand and more and more residents were welcomed into the community. The number of new and innovative clubs was quite astounding. Not only the Public Hall but churches, the Heald Green Hotel and the Waggon and Horses Hotel played host along with the M.U. site on Bradshaw Hall Lane for the Heald Green Motor Club. The Heald Green Theatre Company put on a production at the hall called “When We Are Married” in October 1965. However they would continue to look for their own premises.

By as early as September 1965 though, the hall charges were being criticised and the building was not being used as much as was previously hoped. The residents wanted reduced charges as they believed this would result in greater use   . Persistence paid off by December 1966, as the council agreed to reduce the charges to do just that   .

Whilst discussions continued for a purpose-built Youth Club building within Heald Green, it was decided that for the time being the Public Hall would be used   . This would supplement the tremendous job that the churches and uniformed organisations were doing with their Brownies, Guides, Scouts, Cubs and Boys Brigade and their own youth clubs within the church halls.

The Public Hall became the base for councillors to meet with the residents and surgeries were held twice a month, as they continued to do so pre-COVID 19. 

Societies Evenings were introduced for residents to go along and meet the new and established clubs and societies   . It was hoped that villagers would have a sense of community instead of just a place to live.

Another innovative idea was the Afternoon for the Elderley. This gave the older members of our village a place to go and discuss services for them and to give them any information required   .

 

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Fig. 7 Rose Queen Fetes were held at the Village Hall
for many years - this picture c 1971

© Sue Mallinson
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Fig. 9 Race Night 1982
© Ratepayers' Association
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Fig. 8 More fun and games at the Rose Queen c 1971
© Sue Mallinson
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Fig. 10 Senior Citizens Afternoon Tea Party 2008
© Ratepayers' Association
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The Ratepayers also held 3 dances per year there as well as indoor markets   .

By the late 1980’s the building was beginning to age and was being propped up to make it safe for continued use. In spring of 1989 the hall was shut from April until the end of the year for repairs costing the Council £72,500. It was a huge structural project to strengthen the main hall for safety   .

During 1992, rumours were circulating that the hall was going to close. The Ratepayers were keen to squash this. In the Contact magazine of autumn 1992 they set out what was going on in a large article. The Council, who subsidised the running costs, were looking for ways to save money. All efforts would be needed to make the hall more appealing, to increase the uptake of bookings and therefore revenue   .

By autumn 1993, meetings had been held to find support for a new management committee but to no avail. Heald Green Theatre Club had shown an interest as they were to lose their theatre at Cheadle Royal, and a lease was to be drawn up   . However they would later withdraw.

Another full year passed with discussions still ongoing with 2 options on the table. Firstly, to continue as it was but with improved financial control; or secondly, have it taken over by a commercial organisation with provisions that the community could still use it   .

 

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By spring 1995 there had been a public meeting where the residents' concerns were raised. Thankfully it was hoped that a locally based management committee could be formed to take over the running of the hall, either solely or in partnership with a private operator. The council stated it could not continue its subsidy of £18,000 per year    .

In the magazine of summer 1995, a council committee agreement had been reached and  the management of the hall would be handed over to a local committee. They would receive a £4,000 interest free loan and a £6,000 a year subsidy to run the hall. On top of that the council would spend £28,000 renovating the building   .   

The first AGM was held for the new management committee and Derek Whitehead became the chairman. A council grant had been made of £20,000 for refurbishment and it was hoped that all work would be completed by March 1996.

The Public Hall was relaunched under its new management committee with a Gala Fete and Ball attended by Mayor Neville Fields    , and in 1996, achieved charitable status , therefore saving £1,000's in business rates   .

 

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       Public Hall          Village Hall 

The Village Hall
 

At an AGM meeting of the Public Hall Management Committee on June 10th 1997, it was agreed to change the name to the Heald Green Village Hall    .

To this day the Village Hall continues to be an integral part of our village lives. Though St Catherine’s Rose Queen had ceased in 1995, in 1999 the churches of Heald Green, Rotary Club,  Ratepayers and the Hall got together to promote the Heald Green Community Festival, using both the Hall and the playing fields   . Come rain or shine, the playing field and the Hall is packed with people enjoying themselves, and the money raised goes back into our community.

The Village Hall is still all about community, as clubs and societies fill its days and evenings. The management committee are still enticing clubs to use their facility, from card-making to Zumba. Have a look at their website for the regular users. You never know, you may fancy having a go at something new   .

As our central point, the Village Hall has been at the forefront of our fight against Covid-19 and has been used as a vaccination centre. Most residents will have seen how busy the place was, as a bank of volunteers worked tirelessly to get through what seemed an endless stream of people. Well done and a huge thank you to everyone involved. As we move forward from Covid-19, let’s hope that the sense that we have all been in this together, continues to give us a sense of a village community and how this remains a wonderful place to live.

 

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Heald Green Village Hall from 1995

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By Anne Swinglehurst

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First Published 14/10/2021
Last Updated 13/1/2022

 


Anne explains how the Heald Green Community Association came into being, and what's happened since
 

Since 1995 the Heald Green Public Hall, as it was then called, has been run by the Heald Green Village Hall Community Association, made up from volunteers from the local community. This volunteer committee came about after Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC) decided that it could no longer afford to run the hall. The facilities committee had approached some of the regular users to see if they would be interested in running it, two years previously. The residents who lived locally became aware of this when plans were submitted by a local business, who SMBC had approached to run the hall, to alter the inside and outside of the building. The locals then formed an action group and worked with various councillors; particularly Ron Stenson and Neville Fields; who supported the idea of the hall being run by local people. Patsy Carlton, M.P. was also a supporter of this idea.
 

The group put forward a business plan which was accepted by SMBC and the volunteer association was formed to run the hall under licence to SMBC ‘s Leisure Services.

Although various difficulties had been inherited the ‘new management’ moved forward and the initial business plan was successfully completed in less time than projected! Over the past 25 years the hall has become more and more popular with regular user groups, casual and commercial hirers.

 

In 1997 the name was changed to Heald Green Village Hall.

The Friends of the Village Hall have organised and run many events over the years from table top sales to dances and brass band concerts. The hall is hired by the Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund to hold tea parties, the Heald Green Festival committee and St. Anne’s Hospice to run fund raising events.

 

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Fig. 11 All ready for a Christmas Concert, 2004
© Friends of the Village Hall
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Fig. 12 All ready for a Christmas Concert, 2004
© Friends of the Village Hall
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Fig. 13 Exterior work on a ramp and steps, 2006
© Friends of the Village Hall
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Fig. 14 ...and to the interior; here the vestibule, 2006
© Friends of the Village Hall
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When the Health Centre on Finney Lane was being rebuilt there were temporary surgery portacabins placed on the extended carpark and closed-circuit television (CCTV) was installed in the hall. Over the last few years SMBC have rewired the building, replaced the roof and added solar panels. The ‘Friends’ have raised funds to provide a new kitchen and crockery and grants over the years have been applied for to buy new stage curtains, blinds and chairs.
 

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Fig. 15 A new kitchen, 2005
© Friends of the Village Hall
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Fig. 16 Temporary Surgery Portacabins, 2007
© Friends of the Village Hall
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Fig. 17 Last Night of the Proms, Vernon Building Society (Poynton) Brass Band, 2008
© Friends of the Village Hall
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Fig. 18 Elaine as Britannia, Last Night of the Proms, 2009
© Friends of the Village Hall
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Fig. 19 John Lewis' Christmas Decorations, January 2011...
© Friends of the Village Hall
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Fig. 21 Tickets, please! Jubilee celebrations, 2012
© Friends of the Village Hall
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Fig. 20 ...kindly donated and recycled into fresh Village Hall Decorations, Christmas 2011
© Friends of the Village Hall
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Fig. 22 The entertainers, Jubilee celebrations, 2012
© Friends of the Village Hall
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Fig. 23 Heald Green Village Hall, 2017
© Friends of the Village Hall
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In 2021 the Village Hall became a Covid-19 vaccination centre.

The hall has been susceptible to vandalism particularly in recent years which has resulted in gates been added over the alcoves, and the CCTV cameras turned to protect the vulnerable areas.

Although the management committee has dwindled in numbers the hall is still being run by dedicated volunteers who continue to ensure that it is there for the benefit of local people. They would welcome new members to secure the future of the hall for further generations thus avoiding it returning to SMBC’s full control.

 

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Fig. 11 Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic 2021
© Cheadle Primary Care Network
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Fig. 12 Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic 2021
© Cheadle Primary Care Network
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Fig. 13 Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic 2021
© Cheadle Primary Care Network
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Bibliography

  1. Watkins, May , August-October 2013  Linkline Parish Magazine of St. Catherine’s  Heald Green, pp.14

  2. The Editor, December 1967, Forty Years of Representation, Contact Magazine, 5(4),pp. 10-11.

  3. Heinekey, J, 1996, Heald Green In Wartime, pp. 7

  4. Williams, Elsie, November 2013- January 2014 Linkline Parish Magazine of St. Catherine’s Heald Green, pp. 15

  5. www.healdgreenratepayers.org.uk About Us, A long history

  6. Watson, Emily, February-April 2013 Linkline Parish Magazine of St. Catherine’s Heald Green, pp. 15

  7. The Editor, October 1962, Theatre Club, Contact Magazine, 1(1), pp. 11-12

  8. The Editor, June 1963, Heald Green Photographic Society, Contact Magazine, 1(3), pp. 13

  9. The Editor,June 1963, Heald Green Trefoil, Contact Magazine, 1(3), pp. 10

  10. The Editor,September 1964, Heald Green Historical Society,Contact Magazine, 2(3), pp. 23

  11. The Editor, June 1965, Heald Green Flower Arrangement Society,Contact Magazine, 3(2), pp. 26

  12. The Editor, October 1962, Heald Green Horticultural Society, Contact Magazine, 1(1), pp. 9

  13. The Editor, October 1962, Townswomen’s Guild Evening and afternoon, Contact Magazine, 1(1), pp. 10

  14. The Editor, December 1963, Heald Green and District Old Tyme Dance Club, Contact Magazine, 1(5), pp. 9

  15. The Editor, September 1963, Heald Green Darby and Joan Club, Contact Magazine, 1(4), pp. 3

  16. The Editor, February 1963, Heald Green Public Hall, Contact Magazine, 1(2), pp. 20

  17. The Editor, December 1963,Editorial, Contact Magazine, 1(5), pp. 2

  18. Mitchell, Frank & Mitchell, Teretta(c1976), Tithe Map 1841

  19. OS Time SliderMap 1888-1913 v 2020, ARCHI Information Systems Ltd

  20. The Editor, June 1964, Heald Green Public Hall, Contact Magazine, 2(2), pp. 25

  21. The Editor, September 1964, Heald Green Jottings, Contact Magazine, 2(3), pp. 20

  22. The Editor, December 1964, Heald Green Jottings, Contact Magazine, 2(4), pp. 27

  23. The Editor, February 1965, Minutes of Ratepayers AGM, pp. 2

  24. The Editor, March 1965, Public Hall Contact Magazine, 3(1), pp. 5

  25. The Editor,June 1965, Heald Green Public Hall, Contact Magazine, 3(2), pp. 3

  26. The Editor, September 1965,Any Questions Meeting, Contact Magazine, 3(3), pp. 5

  27. The Editor, December 1966, Public Hall Charges, Contact Magazine, 4(4), pp. 3

  28. The Editor, Autumn 1976,Heald Green Youth Club, Contact Magazine, pp. 3-4

  29. The Editor, Autumn 1980,The Jottings, Contact Magazine, 69, pp. 3

  30. The Editor, Autumn 1984,Afternoon for the Elderley, Contact Magazine, 85, pp. 1

  31. The Chairman, Spring 1982, Chairman’s report, Contact Magazine, 75, pp.5

  32. The Editor, Spring 1989, Councillor’s report, Contact Magazine,101,pp.4

  33. The Editor, Autumn 1992, Heald Green Public Hall, Contact Magazine,112 ,pp.6

  34. The Editor, Autumn 1993, Heald Green Public Hall, Contact Magazine,115 ,pp.6

  35. The Editor,Autumn 1994, The Public Hall, Contact Magazine,118 ,pp.9

  36. The Editor, Spring 1995, Public Hall,Contact Magazine,120 ,pp. 4,5

  37. The Editor,Summer 1995, Public Hall, Contact Magazine,121 ,pp.4

  38. The Editor, Winter 1995,Public Hall,Contact Magazine,122 ,pp.10

  39. The Editor, Autumn 1996, Public Hall, Contact Magazine,124.pp.3

  40. The Editor,Summer 1997,The Heald Green Village Hall, Contact Magazine,127,pp.6

  41. The Editor, Spring 1999,Heald Green Festival, Contact Magazine, 132, pp. 1

  42. Heald Green Village Hall Website

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