A Leicestershire village is preparing to mark the centenary of its village hall after uncovering archive documents that describe its construction by Scotts of Thrapston in 1924. Former trustee Neil Killip from Drayton found the archive in his loft as he was preparing to move house.

Villagers from Drayton met in 1924 with the aim of raising funds to build a parish hall for use as a reading room, games room and as a space for dances, whist drives and concerts. James Scott, great-grandfather of Scotts’ current managing director, submitted a tender for the construction of the building at a cost of £271 (equivalent to around £20k today). Fundraising events included a grand draw with prizes including ‘a ton of coal, a bicycle and a live pig’.

Drayton Hall 2Once construction was complete, Drayton village hall was fitted out with electric light, a collapsible stage and second-hand piano, and was officially launched by ‘Mrs Mark Firth’ from East Carlton Hall on 16 May 1925 with a tea for 150 people. A contemporary local media report described the hall as a ‘fine building of its type where design and workmanship are of the best’.

Current managing director James Scott said, “It’s fascinating to hear the story of Drayton village hall, one of the earliest jobs for our family business which was set up in 1920. My great-grandfather employed skilled cabinet makers after the First World War to help construct timber agricultural buildings and the business grew from there. It is great to know that the hall remains sound and useful to the community one hundred years later.”

Simon Cooper, chair of the Drayton village hall committee, said, “It was a remarkable coincidence that Neil discovered the minute book from meetings in 1924 exactly one hundred years after the notes were made. The village hall has played an invaluable role in the life of the community over many decades and the villagers of Drayton are keen to protect and preserve it for future use.”

Scotts’ business has since evolved to encompass timber outbuildings and garages, equestrian buildings, and summerhouses.

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