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History

Before the First World War, the population of Bledlow Ridge subscribed to build a Hall. This was called the ‘Institute’. (This is now the building used by the School next to the Bucks County Council car park). This was in the hands of Trustees, the Vicar and the Churchwardens, one warden being the honorary secretary and the other being the honorary treasurer.

Over the next decade the population increased, so that the Institute, which was only 25’ by 30’, was no longer large enough for the functions that were part of the social life of the Village. A prominent resident, Sir William Lister, who lived at the ‘Old House’, bought a piece of land, the site of the present Village Hall, for £40.

Sir William’s idea was that he would give the ground and
the residents would subscribe towards a building. Money for the building was raised, and a wooden hut bought from the RAF Halton Camp where it had been in used as an Officer’s Mess.


The cost of erecting the building was higher than was anticipated and a loan to the Fund was made by Mr Bennett who lived at ‘Ridgeway’ (now called Moorlands Farm), Sir William and others. Mr Bennett moved away and was succeeded at Ridgeway by Major and Mrs McGown who immediately took an interest in Village life and in particular the Hall. Mrs McGown was a member of the Hall management Council until she retired in 1968.


Major McGown set about raising the money to remove the debt and negotiated with Sir William and the National Council of Social Service, which resulted in a Foundation Deed being drawn up making the National Council the Trustees of the property and vesting the management of the Hall in a Council consisting of two representatives of each Village Organisation and seven additional members, elected annually at a Public Meeting.


The Signatories to the Trust Deed were:-

Sir William Lister
Dame Grace Lister
Miss Edwardes
Mr Roberts – The Vicar
Mr Kitchener – The Schoolmaster
Mr Nash – The Policeman
Mr Harman – Gardener
Mr Rogers – Windmill Cottage
Major McGown

The Village Hall was hired out for Socials, Whist Drives, Dances, Concerts, Weddings, and Birthday Parties and meetings of various organisations. The Village Hall played an important part in the social life of the Village. Gradually improvements were made ... piped water was laid on, carbide lamps gave way to electricity, a stage was built, and a kitchen fitted with calor-gas rings for cooking.

During the Second World War it was used by the Home Guard and Civil Defence and also by the WI to make jam.

After the war it continued to be used as before, but time and the elements had taken their toll. For example the unlit, outside WC’s were no longer generally acceptable, and water froze several times each year, making them unusable!

In 1961 the management Committee had the building surveyed and from the report it was obvious that a new Hall should be built. Accordingly the Proposal was put before the 1961 AGM and a decision taken. Fund raising began at once and after five and a half years of concerts, plays, Christmas draws, bazaars, wine and cheese parties, coffee mornings, donations etc the New Hall was opened on 1 April 1967 for, to quote the Foundation Deed:- "... to be used and employed for the purposes of physical, mental recreation and spiritual, moral, social and intellectual development for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish and its immediate vicinity without distinction of sex or political or other opinions ..."

The AGM Meeting is held in November. At this meeting the Council’s report and accounts are presented and the seven members elected. Anyone living in the Parish can attend the meeting and can vote if they are over 18 years old.
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