Memorial hall ready for second move in 87 years

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A RELIC from the World War One, which has served as a village hall for the last 87 years, is being dismantled this week ready to be moved to a museum.

The old Drinkstone Village Hall is being moved in anticipation of the building of a new hall on the same site – a project that has been in the pipeline for several years.

The hall is also the village’s war memorial – during World War Two, musicians from the legendary Glen Miller Orchestra entertained American servicemen there.

Several generations of villagers have used the hall for family and community celebrations, as well as weddings, dances, fund-raisers and events to mark royal occasions including the coronation.

Sally Andrews, chairman of Drinkstone Village Hall management committee said: “We are very sorry to see our faithful old village hall go, with all its memories and associations of almost 90 years, but a brand new one can now rise on the site to serve Drinkstone residents for the 21st century and beyond.”

The hall originally served as a officers mess hut at Great Ashfield Airfield during World War One and was moved in sections to Drinkstone by horse and cart 87 years ago.

It had been used on an almost daily basis until a fire, caused by an electrical fault, damaged the front end of the hall, prematurely bringing an end to its working life in the village.

The hall committee made enquiries to aviation museums across the South of England in a bid to find the former mess hut, a new home.

Now it is to be moved to the Stow Maries Aerodrome Museum, in Essex, where it will be used as offices, an education centre and lecture room.

“We are delighted that our old hall will live on at Stow Maries in a fitting environment, where its historical significance can continue to be appreciated and actively enjoyed,” said Mrs Andrews.

Work began on Wednesday to dismantle the hall, which measures 21.65 metres (71ft) by 8.9 metres (29.2ft) and which was built in seven sections. Parts of the hall are due to be moved to Stow Maries during the week starting April 18.