Quenington bids farewell to village hall with tales to tell
IT MAY have been dismissed as a "scruffy little shed" but the retirement of a century-old village hall marks an end of an era for the community it has served.
Built in 1906, Quenington’s Village Institute has survived two world wars and has been used as a post office, market, clinic, dance hall and cinema in that time.
Now as the village bids farewell to the Institute, which local historian June Lewis described as "the heart, the hub" of the village, it is hoped that it will be remembered as a valuable part of Quenington’s heritage.
The wooden building was constructed by the family firm of William Joynes Godwin, whose business was later transformed into the Quenington-based Godwin Pumps.
It started life as a ‘Reading Room’, back when village homes were lit by oil lamps, and the hall provided a thriving meeting place for many decades where locals could read about the progress of the war and play cards or "housey housey" at night.
The hall was even used for Bren gun training during the Second World War.
Institute committee member David Mallinson said that, according to legend, the home guard once accidentally unleashed a burst of fire from the weapon, ripping a hole in the hall’s wooden walls.
"In its own way it’s a piece of history. Generations of young and old have danced there, children have played there," David said.
With the 'village hall' now based at a larger venue, the Gate on the Green, the Institute is due to be sold to an undisclosed buyer, subject to contract. It was on the market for £150,000.