A Brief History of
Hanslope Village Hall

Hanslope Village Hall began life as Hanslope 'Top School' in the area of the Village known, due to its proximity to St James the Great, as Church End
It was built around 1840, financed by Squire Edward Watts of Hanslope Park

Hanslope School 1925

Squire Watts

Squire Edward Watts

Children had been previously educated in the Vicarage House, as the Parish School, created in 1721 and funded by the Lady Pierrepoint Charity

The 'Watts Top School' ran until 1876, when, in 1877, the Hanslope Feoffee Charity took over the funding and management
(The Feoffee Charity still exists and still meets at the Hall)

Meanwhile, in 1865, a second school was established in the same building, the 'National School', also funded by the Pierrepoint Foundation

Around 1872 a new school building was constructed at Green End, (the site of the current school), known as the 'Bottom School', (or alternatively, the 'Board School')

The Hanslope Feoffee Charity funded the Top School from 1877, until it was handed over to the Hanslope School Board in 1896

 School 1893

Church End 'Top School' - 1893

In 1907 new asphalt was laid in the playground,
at a cost of £70
At the same time a new water supply was installed,
at a cost of £51
(Costs today, would be £12,000)

In 1908 the Top and National Schools were merged

At that time the building was managed by the Hanslope Sunday School Endowment

Church End School - interior 1925

Curch End School

Church End 'Top School', interior and exterior, around 1925

In December 1919 there was a fire at the hall, during a Christmas party for the children. One of the teachers Miss Daisy French, age 29, playing Father Christmas, was lighting candles on the Christmas tree when her clothing caught fire. She initially survived, though died of her injuries four days later.
There is a plaque in her honour at the hall.

Daisy French

In 1935 a Trust was established for the Top School building, under the Sunday School Endowment

In 1969 the Top School pupils moved to the newly-built Hanslope Combined School in Gold Street (on the site of the Bottom School), and the Top School then ceased to exist as a separate school

The building then became known as 'The Church Institute', and served as the Parish Hall

At that point the building was in a very poor state of repair and after much negotiation and discussions The Hanslope Village Hall Trust Charity was established in 1979, which leased the building for forty years from the Hanslope Sunday School Trust

With the aid of a grant and with a major fundraising effort the building was enlarged. The main hall was doubled in size; a toilet block was added and a modern kitchen created

Main Hall - 70s

The Large Hall looking towards the kitchen in the 1970s, and as it is today

The Hall is now twice the size, central heating has been added, a new floor fitted and the colour scheme far lighter and brighter

The door to the kitchen is in the far corner, the door to the toilet block to the right

Large Hall - today
Main Hall 70s

The Large Hall looking towards the main entrance in the 1970s, and today


Photographed from the same position - it shows the extra space created from the new build on the left

Main Hall - today
Kitchen - 70s

The kitchen area in the 1970s and today.

The sinks are in virtually the same position

The window behind the 1970s view, at that time looking directly outside, is filled in and is covered by the notice board in the new corridor

In the 1970s there was no 'fourth wall' by the corridor Now there is, incorporating a large serving hatch

Kitchen - today
Toilet - 70s

The lone toilet in the 1970s

Amazingly this was located directly next to the kitchen!
(Which is on the left of this photo)

Today there are separate ladies, gents and disabled toilets in their own block

Toilets - today

Toilets - today

Toilets - today

The completely refurbished building was officially opened in 1982, by actor Brian Wilde
Amongst his best known roles are Mr Barrowclough in Porridge, and 'Foggy' Dewhurst in Last of the Summer Wine


The 40 year lease expired in 2019, but has been renewed.

historic photographs - courtesy of Hanslope and District Historical Society
1970 photographs - Dr John Sorrell
present day photographs - Mat Irvine