Tarvin Online Logo Link

History of Tarvin's first Public Hall

5th September 2023 @ 6:06am – by Margaret Dixon and Eric Plenderleath
Back home  »  News  »  History of Tarvin's first Public Hall

Many in Tarvin may not be aware that one of the buildings at the centre of our High Street was originally the Tarvin Public Hall & Institute.

Several years ago we published this article by Margaret Dixon and Eric Plenderleath giving an account of the history of this interesting building.

Even though Tarvin (including all the outlying townships) had a substantial population of around 3,500, it must have been an momentous decision, way back in the 1880's, to raise money to finance such a building.

The original proposal was put forward by a local resident, John Bull, although there appears to have been a political motive by the Liberals to provide a facility "as an aid for education and to provide a place for the working class away from the pub". Thus with the help of local "well to do" subscribers and the sale of bricks at 3d and 6d (old pence) per unit, the princely sum of £600 was raised and the work was carried out.

Local builders, John Wright & (Kelsall) were employed and having demolished two cottages and using Flemish bond handmade bricks, the building was completed in 1889. It incorporated foundation stones denoting the three principle benefactors, Mr. George Lea, Mrs. Tomlinson and W.H.A.(W.H.Ankers). The eroded stone is believed to have stated that the hall was also paid for by public subscription. It was officially opened on 10th December by Mrs. Tomlinson.

The original design had a large balcony looking down onto the main hall with a small meeting room.

The first recorded celebration to be held in the Public Hall was a Jubilee tea for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 when both the Hall and the Manor House were used to serve some 800 people.

By 1901, when the trusteeship of the Hall was passed over to the Parish Council, the building was used regularly. A Reading Room was opened on the upper floor by the Institute's first President, Mr. Topham, providing Newspapers for reading, as well as billiards and ping-pong tables.

At about this time the Shepherd's Friendly Society moved its meetings from the Red Lion-"in order to save money on drinks". Miss Baldwin of Chester gave cookery classes each Wednesday, an activity enjoyed by farmers' daughters.

In 1907, local lay preacher, G.B.Radcliffe, hired the hall each evening for a week to preach to the community. In 1914 the Hall acted as a recruitment venue for the First World War.

Not much is recorded during the first half of the 20th century but the growth in population beginning in the 1950's saw a growth in village organisations who used the facilities.

One regular user was Chester Library and the Hall was a regular venue for special events such as the Guide and Brownie Spring Fair, Selection of Carnival Queens, annual dinners and A.G.Ms, Discos and parties. It also had regular use by the W.I. Scouts and Cubs, Young Housewives, Silver threads and ballet classes. It was also used for sports such as Badminton, Billiards, Table Tennis and Darts.

In 1974 the Public Hall was sold when the Community Centre opened. The Hall became Limestar Tropicals and many will recall going to see exotic fish and animals as well as buying food for pets from Roger Dutton and his able assistant, Anne.

By 2009 the Hall had been sold again and an award winning restoration took place for Apple Bathrooms. This later became a furniture and furnishing store and housed a barber. The upper floor became living accommodation.

The building is now a private residence. We hope its owners are aware of its rich and varied history.

Get In Touch

TarvinOnline is powered by our active community.

Please send us your news and views.

Village Map

© 2024 TarvinOnline