The hall was 90 years old in 2015. In 1923, the nearest Hitchin houses were at the end of Brampton Park Road and Old Hale Way was unheard of. The village was more separated from Hitchin and must have had a good community spirit to decide to build a Hall. Bowmans Mill, Witters arts and crafts metal works and Hopkins coach works were the main employers. There were gardens in front of the school which provided the senior boys with a plot.
There was a sizable community who needed a hall to hold their events in. The hall was funded by holding social dances at the school and by holding fetes. A start was made on building the Hall in December 1924 by Mr Palmer and by Dec 1925 the Hall was complete and Mr Bowman held an inaugural party on the 10th.
By 1926 attendances at the weekly dances were typically 100 and 50 attended the whist drives because the prize would have been significant. The entry for both would have been a shilling. Prudence Jennings, who became Mrs Parkins, was the pianist and organised the local band.
In 1927 the annual children’s party consumed 52lbs of cake at 10 pence a pound and 180 children attended. The women’s Conservative and Unionist association held their meetings there and also the Men’s Labour club.
The small hall was paid for by the Rands foundation in 1931 and was originally intended to provide Woodwork and Cookery teaching facilities for the school. When school meals were introduced, the main hall was used as a dining hall for the school. There were billiard tables which provided an income of 5 shillings a night.
During the Second World War, from 1941, the Hall was a British restaurant. Randolph Churchill had lived in the village and his wife (who later became Pamela Harriman, US ambassador to France) helped run the restaurant.
As recently as 1967 the Hall car park was built, Shirley Williams MP helping getting a grant towards the cost and officially opening the car park. For more historical information a booklet price £4 is available.
For more on Witters arts & crafts, visit the following link:-
For some history of Ickleford School, view the following document:-