High Peak News
11 December 1926
FERNILEE VILLAGE HALL
Parishioners Build Own Recreation Room
On the left hand side of the road from Whaley Bridge to Buxton, approximately a mile from Whaley, and just past the old toll-bar house, has arisen during the last six months or so, a single storey building of grey brick. It has crept up and up, layer by layer, but so slowly yet surely until now it has reached completion, and bears on the wall facing the road a stone inscribed "Fernilee Village Hall, 1926." The passing stranger, passing not too quickly, may wonder justifiably at this building, and wonder still more on reading the inscription, for on both sides of the road, within a mile, are not more than ten or twelve houses, a public house, a chapel, a cemetery, and a school. But in this small hamlet beat hearts inspired by progress patience and unselfish endeavour.
The Fernilee Village Hall has been built by the unselfish hands accompanying these hearts. No bricklayer at so much an hour and so many bricks a day has erected this Hall; it has been erected by the men and lads of the village, inspired by the glory of achievement, and not by hope of reward. These workers have sacrificed many a summer evening, many a Saturday afternoon, to this purpose, and the building, apart from the roof and possibly other small but important portions, is the product of "amateur," but careful workmanship. The land was bought for a "fiver," and the "fiver" given back; the same generous helper gave the bricks for the good of the cause. Surely, in these prosaic days, a romantic genesis for the Fernilee Village Hall !
The opening ceremony was performed by two sisters, Mrs Gosselin and Mrs Preston, of Errwood Hall, on Saturday afternoon. The whole of the small parish and many more besides, turned out for the great event, which was of so comprehensive a nature that it embraced the formal opening, a tea, a concert, and a dance ! Thanks to all this jollification and the generosity of various people in the locality, the Hall was free of debt before the strike of midnight, and the total raised, including subscriptions, proceeds from the tea, concert, dance, etc., now stands in the neighbourhood of £100. The names of the members of the committee who had the satisfaction of seeing the coronation of their work on Saturday are worthy of recording.
The committee comprises: Messrs T. Pearson (chairman), J.H. Collier (hon. secretary), Albert Warren (hon. treasurer), J. Raven, H. Warren, W. Hill, T. Wardle, F. Bagshaw, P. Renshaw, James Lomas, J. Clayton, H. Lupton, E. Bates and F. Heapey. The trustees are Messrs T. Pearson, A. Warrren and E. Bates.
A large crowd assembled outside the Hall to see the formal opening. Mr Pearson, who presided over the ceremony, handed to Mrs Gosselin the key, with which she unlocked the door, and declared the Hall open. Thereupon Mrs Gosselin and Mrs Preston were escorted to the platform within, and the general public trooped into the building.
Opening Day Speeches
History of The Project
Mr Pearson, in the course of an interesting and informative address said: “It is my pleasure today to express on behalf of the committee our sincere thanks to you, Mrs Gosselin, and to you, Mrs Preston, for your generous act in opening our hall. We are very proud of our Village Hall, and very proud of the part you have played in connection with it. We are proud of it because it has been erected in such a manner; that is to say, every boy and girl, or man and woman in Fernilee has had something to do with this building in one way or another. It is now some years since it was first mooted, and at a meeting we held we actually went as far as to make rules of membership and fix the subscription. It shows that there was considerable enthusiasm for the project, but we have had to wait till now before we can apply these rules.
The children have given their excellent services in the way of concerts, etc., and in the summer time we have run carnivals in Shuker's field and the grounds of Shallcross Manor, both kindly lent. The boys and girls were taught old English dances, and the ladies have helped by providing the refreshments so that the carnivals were a success. We have been very much indebted to our ladies' committee for the work they have done, and as mentioned by a friend of the project, we were told that if we were in a difficulty we must see the ladies and they would pull us through. That has been our experience. The two carnivals brought us in something near £80. We then thought of building a hall, but owing to the high prices of materials, or even a wooden hut, we could not proceed with the actual building at that time.
Then we got an important piece of news. We received word from Errwood Hall that we could have the plot of land, upon which this building now stands, for £5 and we could have the £5 back again as a donation! Our committee being business men, we immediately closed with the offer! We also heard that we could have the bricks from the site of the old gunpowder works. In a very short time men, boys, farm carts, etc., were on the scene, busy collecting bricks and transferring them to our site ready for trimming. A lot of work was put in trimming during the winter, and then we had £80, the land and the bricks. We then formed a building committee to get it ready for the winter months. That we have accomplished, but only after very hard work by the men and boys of this district. What has impressed me most has been the way they have worked on it. On Saturday afternoons and summer evenings they have given their time and energy to bring about this result. We have not finished our work, but we have completed our building, and we shall go on until we have finished the work we have set out to do. We have installed a first-class heating apparatus, which is working very effectively, and we now have to get the necessary furniture. Then we want to hold a public meeting to decide the best way of running the Fernilee Hall for the good of the district. We hope that you, Mrs Gosselin, and you, Mrs Preston, may know that what you have done for us may bring many happy hours for the people of Fernilee for many years.”
And now for the Ladies’ reply:
"SUPPLIES A GREAT WANT"
Mrs Gosselin, who was most cordially greeted, replied:
“We have, my sister and I, much pleasure in coming amongst you today, and we thank you for inviting us to open the Fernilee Club, the young men's opportunity of recreation--thus graciously uniting us to yourselves on this festal occasion. The pretty name of Fernilee has long been familiar to us, indeed from our very childhood, and we have always taken an interest in the village and its inhabitants. I congratulate you warmly on the building you have erected. It was badly needed and supplies a great want. I congratulate the young people of Fernilee in having the responsibility of so generous a gift; it will be greatly appreciated. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," and we don't want any dull boys here, be it Jack or any other boy. As the old saying has it, "A merry heart goes all the day." I would add, "to the end of life's day." A sad heart tires in a mile; before the first milestone is reached. When the day's work is done, young people need recreation, for the matter of that we all do. A great man who had lived amongst and understood young people once said "If you do not furnish amusement for the young they will find it themselves." You, indeed, have provided the best and this well equipped building is all that can be desired. Again I congratulate you on the work you have accomplished. We both wish that the greatest success may attend it, and we hope that many happy hours may be spent in the Fernilee young men's club. Now, my young friends, I will, in conclusion, address a few words to you. I will begin by telling you that you are indeed very lucky in having this fine club provided for you. You will be proud of it, I am sure, and very grateful to those who are giving it to you.
The very gift is a proof of the confidence they place in you with regard to the recreation and amusement you will be able to enjoy within the precincts of this Hall. It has been my privilege during the course of a long life, to be associated with , and to know intimately many good and charming men. They were all workers, men who had spent themselves in the service of God, of their country, and of their fellow men. Such men remain in mind and heart young and cheerful for ever. This you will find to be the case with work loyally done, and particularly when it is unselfish and brings grist to the mill. It makes the heart bright and merry, and the recreation so well deserved is thoroughly enjoyed. I feel sure that you will all experience this, and that the Fernilee club will then echo to the sound of your laughter and your song. It is with very great pleasure that my sister and I declare open this Hall, the Fernilee Young Men's Club.”
Mr T. Stafford also gave a brief address.
Subsequently tea was provided in the Hall, which presented a rare scene of bustle and excitement whilst 500 hungry people were fed. The provisions had largely been given and were served by a strong force of local ladies.
The Hall received its social christening in the early evening, when the first concert was held. Mr P. Henshaw presided, and songs were given by Miss Bailey, Miss Smith and Mr Hartley; pianoforte solo by Miss J. Macbean, a pianoforte duet by Miss Macbean and Miss Wilburn, recitations by Miss Peggy Linacre and humorous items by Mrs Healey. A short address was given by Mr J. Raven, who spoke of the old recreation room, which fell into disuse some years ago. The dance which followed gave some of the young people an opportunity to give vent to their feelings and quite a carnival spirit pervaded the new hall. Mr Crawley and Mr Clarke acted as M.C.s and music was provided by Miss J. Macbean and Miss M. Wardle (pianists), Mr H. Kidd and G. Macbean (violinists.) The committee desire to express their gratitude to all who have helped the scheme to finality.