King's Somborne Village Hall
Charity Number 1180268


The Village Hall Story

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The Village Hall at King`s Somborne serves the village of King`s Somborne itself, the neighbouring villages of Ashley, Up Somborne, Little Somborne and Horsebridge and the wider community of this part of the Test Valley. The catchment area covered embraces around 5,000 people.

The facilities at the Hall provide recreational, social and educational services to local inhabitants of all ages. The Hall is situated in the centre of the main village and its proximity to the adjacent recreation ground, the local village primary school, The Crown Inn, local shops and the Parish Church means that it is an important centre in village and community life.

The original King`s Somborne Village Hall was established following a gift of £500 by local benefactors, Mr and Mrs Herbert Johnson, for the benefit of veterans of the First World War. It was opened in 1921 but by 1942 the ownership and running of the premises had been taken over by The Farmers Club. The Farmers Club was disbanded in 1955 and ownership passed by Deed of Covenant to trustees representing principal user groups of the Hall at that time. That covenant remains the governing document of the Village Hall. In November 2017 the VHMC agreed that this governing document should be updated to a Charitable Incorporated Ordination (C I O).

In 1972 work started on the construction of the current hall, replacing the old structure and the new facility was opened in 1975. In 1981 the pavilion area was extended and the Hall achieved its current overall footprint.

More recently an extensive programme of refurbishment and development has taken place over the period 2008-2016. This has included: new modern kitchen, redecoration of committee room, creation of the new Jubilee Room, major redevelopment of the sports pavilion and changing rooms, new store rooms, redecorated vestibule and creation of a small outside play area. Attention has also been paid to environmental factors with the installation of solar panels, air source heat pumps, improved heating, substantially improved insulation, ventilation and other energy-saving measures. The Main Hall in particular has been significantly upgraded and modernised, including greatly improved stage lighting and sound system ensuring that visitors enjoy the best possible facilities and ambience, whatever their event.

The cost of this refurbishment and development programme (well in excess of £200,000) has been met from a combination of local fund-raising and grants (principally from local authorities and, in the case of the pavilion, The Football Foundation).

The programme has met with wide local approval and support and the usage of the Hall has significantly increased. The number of individual Hall bookings increased by more than 90 per cent between 2008 and 2017 (from 372 to over 700) and has stabilised around this level, despite the Hall`s use having been limited at certain stages of the refurbishment programme. Weekday booking hours have also increased by some 90 per cent since the development programme commenced in 2008-9. In particular a new village pre-school group now uses the facilities for some 18 hours each week in term time. This arrangement is unsatisfactory for both preschool and the Village Hall and much of this report focuses on the project to provide better facilities for preschool and free up the Village Hall for better community usage.

Currently the hall embraces a Main Hall (9 m by 15 m), a secondary smaller hall called the Jubilee Room (4 m by 5.5 m), a committee room, a well-equipped kitchen, and entrance hall/vestibule and a sports pavilion incorporating two changing rooms, a small referee`s room and its own small kitchenette. The total floor area of the Village Hall is some 360 sq.m.

The trustees of the Village Hall aim to optimise usage of the facilities and to ensure that they are in the best condition possible to ensure maximum enjoyment and appreciation for the people of our community. Ongoing programmes of maintenance, refurbishment and development are designed to achieve these aims and are complemented by income generation and fund-raising.

One clear objective of the trustees is to ensure that the Hall and its facilities continue to meet the needs and aspirations of all user groups.

It is important to note that the recent Neighbourhood Development Plan survey has shown the hall is already used by 80% of the respondents.

Village Hall Usage

The management of a village hall presents constant challenges. Strenuous efforts have been made in recent years to ensure that the Village Hall at King`s Somborne is properly managed, is financially viable and is equipped to meet changing circumstances from demographic shifts and community needs.

The attraction of the Hall is its situation at the centre of village life, geographically and socially. It is used by many local organisations as well as individuals and occupancy rates have significantly increased in the past few years. The Hall`s finances are robust and it is now usual to make a small surplus each year before depreciation is taken into account. This has ensured that a reserve has been accumulated to cover at least six months of operation. The objective is to further add to this a contingency fund to meet unexpected maintenance and repair costs.

Prior to the first Village Hall
1898   Parish Reading Rooms at the (old) Vicarage, opposite Snowdrop Cottage. These were founded by the Vicar, the Reverend John Creighton.This was a popular facility used for meetings, lectures,club activities and included a village reading room.
1901 Parish Reading Rooms extended (Site now back garden of Clausentium Danes)
July 1910 A Cricket Pavilion (near the current telephone exchange
at the end of the lane leading to the recreation ground) was opened by Herbert Johnson, Marsh Court.

The pavilion was removed in 1975.
1911 King’s Somborne Working Men’s Club (Winchester Road) founded by Mr Hennessy, Lord of the Manor of Compton Monceaux and Upper Eldon, Resident of Compton, 1911-1914, MP for Winchester, Deputy leader of the Conservative Party.

The Working Men's Club is still in operation in Winchester Road to this day.
Comrades’ Club, Farmers’ Club and Main Hall
22 Jan 1921 The first Village Hall, more or less at the current site of today's Village Hall, was opened by Mr Herbert Johnson of Marsh Court. It comprised three sections, the Comrades' Club at the southern end (near the lane leading to the recreation ground), the Farmers club in the middle, incorporating a bar (available also to the other two parts) and billiards room, and the Main Hall to the north, the responsibility of the Women's Institute.
2nd World War During the war, the Village Hall was used as a community centre for the issuance of gas masks and ration books. It was a mustering point for the Home Guard. Troops, many living under canvass, used the pavilion as a canteen.
18 Jan 1954 Decision taken for the Farmers’ Club to close down. The possibility of selling off the buildings and converting them to chicken sheds was discussed.  
17 Feb 1955 Conveyance and initial constitution. The hall was sold by Farmers’ Club to trustees of Village Hall for £250, thus allowing the hall to continue.
Rebuilt Village Hall
1972 - 1975 The Village Hall was rebuilt. It was built in phases, the first part being the main hall, built at right angles to the former hall, whilst retaining  the Comrades' Club and Farmers' Club sections during the building work. The second phase completed the building, not including the current pavilion.
7 Jun 1975 Village Hall opened by Sir Thomas and Lady Sopwith of Compton Manor.
1981 Pavilion extension added to Village Hall.
2006 Development Committee formed to redevelop the hall.  
12 July 2009 New Kitchen opened. This includes a range cooker, fridge, microwave and commercial dishwasher cleaning dishes in about 2 minutes. Crockery for over 100 sittings is available.
July 2009 Committee Room refurbishment complete. Provides table and seating for around 16 people.
16 July 2011 Refurbished Pavilion opened by Caroline Nokes MP. This provides changing facilities for two teams wih separate faciliies for the referee.
Sep 2011 Pre-school starts in the Village Hall The Sombornes Preschool 
2 Jun 2012 Jubilee Room opened by Lady Appleyard. The Jubilee Room is available for separate hire as a function room that may be more appropriate for smaller parties than the main hall.
Oct 2014 Air Source Heat Pumps installed. These an act both as heaters and air conditioners and replace the earlier oil fired heatig system. Two units, feeding internal heaters over the stage, are installed in the courtyard, and a third unit to the rear of the hall feeds a heater at that end.
2015 Solar Cells added to the hall to further reduce energy costs and improve the carbon footprint. The control system for these panels is mounted alongside the hot water tanks in the pavilion area
19 Feb 2015 Parish Council opens the MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area). MUGA
14 Mar 2015 Main Hall renovation complete and open for use. The renovation included new lighting systems, redecoration of the walls and new windows and curtains. Extensive storage areas have been constructed to the rear of the hall.
June 2018 A new Constitution was agreed a the 2018 AGM.  
Nov 2018 A new façade was constructed to enhance the hall and provide an improved entrance to the hall.
Ref: King's Somborne Farmers' Club. Gordon Pearson. (The Somborne & District Society)

The Founding of King's Somborne Working Men's Club. Gordon Pearson (Somborne and District Society)

The Folks Who Lived on the Hill - The Johnsons of Marsh Court. Mary H Pollock (Somborne and District Society)

Photos provided to Village Hall by David Bidwell.

Official opening of the NEW VILLAGE HALL - Souvenir program (1975 - Cyril Piggott)

Minutes of VHMC meetings