The Reading Room 1914 - 1918By Andy Chapman
Reading the parish magazine during the Great war the social hub of the village was the Church and the reading room. Below is a brief history of the reading room and artiicles from the parish Magazine. Watch our slide show and click on image to enlarge
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The Reading Room 1914 - 1918
Reading the parish magazine during the Great war the social hub of the village was the Church and the reading room. Below is a brief history of the reading room and artiicles from the parish Magazine.
The original building was erected by the Rev. F. E. and Mrs. Coggin in 1895 in the grounds of Bridge House, which they rented while the former was Vicar of the Parish and run by them privately. The vicar had rented Bridge House, possibly as a temporary home whilst the vicarage was being enlarged. When he left in 1905 he gave up the tenancy and presented the Reading Room to the parish. As the new tenants of Bridge House wanted it removed, it had to be moved to a site just inside the farm entrance to Roebuck Farm, which the last Lady Cowper kindly permitted.The Reading Room, was constructed from green painted corrugated iron with tongue-and-grove stained boarding lining the inside walls and a wooden floor. There was a large main hall with a stage at the Church Road end, a kitchen and store room and a small Committee Room. According to Keith Ladbury the windows in about 1916 were of frosted glass.
The first trustees were A. J. Sherriff, W. C. Horn and J. B. Horn and here it stayed serving as the Lemsford Village Hall until the new Village Hall was built in Brocket Road in the early 1970s.
Keith Ladbury, in his History of Lemsford Village, remembers the billiards table, photographs of local football teams on the walls and a row of black calico covered books such as Dickens. There was a small branch of the County Library in the Committee Room where a librarian came twice a week to issue books. The Trustees of the Smiths Charity distributed the 'Brocket Bread' to the poor of Lemsford there. It was the venue for parish celebrations and social events - parish meetings, Mother's Meeting, jumble sales, Friday whist drives, Youth Club, wedding receptions, social evenings and dances. He also describes a hurricane. It was during the War, probably in 1916, Lemsford experienced a hurricane which in one night, devastated so many of our loved trees. The wood from the Wheathampstead road down to the river at Flint Bridge completely flattened as by the sweep of a mighty hand. For days after, each morning would see an open lorry come from Newtown where were housed a few German prisoners of war. Guarded by a couple of soldiers they spent their time cutting up the fallen trees and, with a team of horses, hauling the trunks tip onto the long tree wagons of the day.
Notice on the Reading Room Wall
1914-18 LOCAL EX-SERVICEMEN'S ORGANISATION
THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE OF THIS HALL GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGE THE GENEROSITY OF THE ABOVE-MENTIONED ORGANISATION IN DONATING £20 TOWARDS THE COST OF THE IMPROVED LIGHTING.
E Runchman Chairman - H.C. ?Harrison Hon. Secretary
Lemsford News March 1917
Smith's Charity – on Friday, January 26th, Smith's Charity, or the “Brocket Bread” as it is usually called was distributed in the Reading Room. The pile of loaves looked and smelt most appetising, and the quantity carried away by each recipient must have been a real Godsend to Mothers of large families in these bad times. The bread is provided by a charge left by a one time owner, on the Brocket Estate, to pay the Vicar and Churchwardens of Lemsford 30/- annually, for ever, to distribute in bread to the poor of the parish. As the parish grew, the sum was found too small to supply enough bread to go round, so it is held by the Trustee until a sufficient sum has accumulated to supply each poor parishioner with a certain quantity. Mr W Horn, who must have had considerable trouble in compiling the list, distributed the bread with assistance of Mrs & Miss Moore, Miss Horn and Mrs King.
Lemsford News February 1918
Whist Drive – On Monday, January 14th, a very successful Whist Drive was held in the Reading Room in aid of the County Red Cross. Seventy-five people were present and play was kept until 10.30. Mr Ladbury acted as M.C. Owing to the generosity of friends in giving the prizes, their time, and helping with the light refreshments, expenses were small, and the sum of £5 12s. 6d. was handed in to Lady Mount Stephen. The prize winners were: 1st, Mr W. Adams and Mrs Cliffe; 2nd, Mr Goddard and Miss Munt. Booby prizes to Mr T. Holwell and Miss Oliver; Hidden number prizes, Mrs Kemp and R. Cochrane. After the presentation of the prizes Mr Adams generously put up for auction his prize and it was sold for 7/6, which sum was added to the funds.
Lemsford News April 1918
Whist Drive – Another successful Whist Drive was held in the Reading Room on March 11th, organised as before, by Mrs Moore and a small Committee. A good number were present, and the prizes were won by the following: 1st., Miss C. Clarke and Mr Dear, 2nd, Miss Crystal and Mr Goddard, Booby Mrs Childs and Mr R. Cochrane. Mr Ladbury acted as M.C. Owing to the prizes being given, and the generous gifts of milk and money towards the refreshments, and labour free of charge for the arrangement of the room, the expenses were very little and the proceeds amounted to £5 14s. 9d., which was sent to the Sec. of the Lord Roberts Fund.
Lemsford News February 1919
Whist Drive – A successful Whist Drive was held in the Reading Room on Monday, the 13th. when between sixty and seventy were present. Mrs W.C. Horn presented the prizes at the end of the evening, the winners being 1st, Mrs F. Scott and Mrs W. Saunders; 2nd, Miss Reeves and Mr F. Goodge; Hidden number, Miss C. Green and Mr Henson; Booby prizes, Miss E. Tritton and Mr F. Spriggs. Mr Ladbury, as usual, was an efficient M.C. The proceeds, after deducting expenses, amounted to £5 10s. 6d. which was sent to St. Dunstan's Hospital for Blinded Sailors and Soldiers. The thanks of those who spent an enjoyable evening are due to the Committee, who organised the Drive, and to all who kindly helped by sending money, milk, etc., towards the refreshments, by lending furniture, or giving their services for the arrangement of the room, thus greatly lessening the expenses.
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|Parish magazine 1914||Home Front - News from the War - Church News|
|Parish magazine 1915||Home Front - News from the War - Church News|
|Parish magazine 1916||Home Front - News from the War - Church News|
|Parish magazine 1917||Home Front - News from the War - Church News|
|Parish magazine 1918||Home Front - News from the War - Church News|