Old Stratford Memorial Hall

Old Stratford Residents had always had to use the Tram Depot or the Schoolroom at Trinity School for community meetings. The story below, told in extracts from newspapers, explains how they eventually achieved a hall of their own.

The Northampton Mercury May 22nd 1914



Excellent progress is being made with the Old Stratford Public Hall fund. The committee have now about £60 in cash, and they hope to increase this by another £40 within the next few weeks. When the century has been reached a certain quantity of materials will be obtained and operations will be speedily commenced by the little army of volunteer builders. The enterprising organisers of the movement are making use of every possible opportunity to secure the necessary capital to enable them to carry out their scheme to a successful finish, and the first of “a variety of other methods” other than that of soliciting subscriptions, will be employed on Whit Monday, when some interesting sport and village games are to be held in a field kindly lent by Mr. W. W. Dickens, who is the donor of the hall site to the village.

The Northampton Mercury May 22nd 1914

The Northampton Mercury February 7th 1919


At a well attended meeting convened to consider the advisability of a suitable war memorial, it was unanimously resolved that the efforts, unfortunately stopped by the world’s conflict, for the erection of a public hall for Old Stratford be strenuously resumed, that the hall be dedicated to the memory and bravery of those who have died, suffered, and endured in the struggle for national freedom. A strong committee were appointed to further and promote the object. Ardent appeals for unity and activity were made by the chairman, Mr. David Jones, and Mr. Chas. Lee, who were president and secretary of the original public hall fund, and to which hearty responses were made.

The Northampton Mercury June 20th 1919


The annual Whitsuntide “Old English Fete” was held at Old Stratford on Whit-Monday, and proved a huge success. The organisation was capital and was a great testimony t the success which attends the efforts of a village whose inhabitants pull together. Major Grant-Thorold opened the fete, and Mrs. Adams, sen., distributed the sports prizes. On the site of the Memorial Hall, for which the funds are being raised, there are already 10,000 bricks, and more are on their way. The committee are hopeful of soon placing on that site a memorial worthy in its stability and utility of the sons of the village who did their bit in the great war. The amount realised was £96 15s. 5d.

The Northampton Mercury February 27th 1920

A Memorial Hall is being built at Old Stratford. Up to the present the inhabitants have subscribed £200 towards the costs, and the hall is to be opened at Whitsuntide. The hall is being erected near the cross roads. Suggestions for the erection of a reading room and recreation club in conjunction with the hall, are under consideration. Mr. D. Jones is Chairman of the Committee, with Mr. Mackerness, Secretary, and Mr. G. Wylie, Treasurer.

The Northampton Mercury May 15th 1920

The building of the Memorial Hall at Old Stratford is nearly finished, and the committee hope to see it opened by Colonel W. H. Bull, K.H.S., on Whit Monday.

The Northampton Mercury May 28th 1920


The Memorial Hall, at Old Stratford, was opened on Whit-Monday by Colonel W. H. Bull, K. H. S. The hall is situated at the cross-road and faces the Deanshanger road. A low stone wall encloses the building, which is 45 yards long and 15 yards wide; at one end of it a stage has been erected.
Colonel Bull said that they were fortunate in seeing the Hall completed and ready for the use of the inhabitants. A long-felt want had at last been realised; he hoped they would endeavour to use it frequently and obtain much enjoyment by meeting there. The general construction of the Hall was very satisfactory.
Mr. W. S. Parrott read the Trust deeds, and pointed out that the Hall had cost £760. Only £260 had been raised, which left a deficit of £500. Mr. W. W. Dickens, of Old Stratford immediately offered to provide the sum of money, so the Hall had been paid for entirely. (Applause). Mr. W. H. Mackerness proposed a hearty vote of thanks to Mr. Dickens, which was seconded by Mr. D. Jones, the chairman, and was enthusiastically carried. A vote of thanks was also accorded to Colonel Bull.
After the ceremony the Last Post was sounded and the National Anthem was sung.

The opening of the Memorial Hall, May 1920

Front row: third from left, Charlie Andrews; forth from left: Charles Sibthorpe; fifth from left Charlie Holman. Extremem right: Charlie Munday

The Northampton Mercury June 25th 1920

UNSECTARIAN SERVICES. The Memorial Hall, which was recently opened at Old Stratford, is being used for Sunday afternoon services. The services are non-sectarian, and are bright and inspiring. Many people have attended them from the surrounding. The clergy who conduct the services are the Revs. W. J. Harris (Stony Stratford), W. Plant (Potterspury), and the Rev. Symonds (Passenham).

The Northampton Mercury July 9th 1920

An interesting function was held in the Memorial Hall on Saturday last, when the people of the village entertained their ex-soldiers. An excellent supper was served, to which the boys did splendid justice. At the close of the repast a presentation was made by the ex-soldiers to Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Dickens, as a token of their appreciation for all Mr. and Mrs. Dickens had done on their behalf. Mr. S. Redley presented the gift – a very handsome rose bowl – in a very apt speech. Mr. and Mrs. Dickens made suitable replies. After the ceremony, the boys organised a concert, which was followed by a dance.

Plaque on the front of the Memorial Hall Old Stratford

The Northampton Mercury November 5th 1920

A Social Club has been formed in Old Stratford, the Memorial Hall being used [rest of the article is missing].

The Wolverton Express September 22nd 1961

Interest and Generosity at Old Stratford

Our photograph shows, not as one might imagine, the interior of a local parish church, but the interior of the Memorial Hall, Old Stratford, as it is transformed each week for Sunday services.
Such services have been held here for nearly four years, and sprang out of a desire on the part of people in Old Stratford to have a place of worship at the centre of the community. This was before the work of restoration of the ancient parish church of Passenham had begun, and services in the Memorial Hall are now being held in co-ordination with those in the parish church, where the work of restoration is well under way.

Members of the Old Stratford Memorial Hall are now represented on the Parochial Church Council of Passenham-cum-Deanshanger, and the Bishop of Peterborough (now Bishop-designate of London) has given permission for the Holy Communion to be celebrated in the hall. Early this year the Archdeacon of Northampton, when visiting Deanshanger paid a special visit to the hall at the close of the evening service and was much interested in the work that was being done.

Four places of worship

The Rector of Cosgrove and Passenham-cum-Deanshanger, the Rev A.E. Bransby, R.D., is able to take services in turn in each of the four places of worship with help of two Lay Readers, in what must be one of the largest parochial units in the Preston Deanery.
During the last four years Old Stratford people have shown their interest and generosity in supplying frontals for the holy table and curtains behind it. An oak cross and candlestick set, together with brass vases and service bookrest, hymn board and numbers and harmonium have all been donated, together with a chalice and paten and glass cruets, also linen cloth for use at the Holy Communion.

Communion rails have been made by a craftsman in the village and also wooden kneelers by another craftsman whilst hassocks have been embroidered in traditional church design by a team of needle women.

A neighbouring church has shown interest in loaning a reading desk and lectern as well as a donation for purchasing Sunday School equipment for which much gratitude is due.

Collections taken at services held in the hall are devoted largely to the missionary work of the Church at home and overseas and partly to the church extension fund. Diocesan interest has been such that it encourages the hope for a permanent  building being acquired to serve Old Stratford in conjunction with Passenham as Deanshanger church was built in years past for a similar reason.

The Wolverton Express September 30th 1966

A PRESENTATION was made to Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Elliott at the Memorial Hall, Old Stratford, on Thursday evening at the conclusion of their nine years' work for the Church in Old Stratford. The couple were presented with a dinner and tea service by Mrs. Chance.
The Rector, the Rev. A. C. Barker, presided at the meeting and Mr. F. Hall thanked Mr. and Mrs. Elliott for all they had done, explaining how much the people had valued the services commenced in the hall nine years ago. He hoped that the warm fellowship would be able to continue.
Mr. and Mrs. Elliott were also, presented with book tokens by Mr. Batley, who had acted a, Church treasurer.
Mr Elliott, who is a lay reader In the Peterborough and Oxford Dioceses, thanked everyone present, including Mr. Barker the Rector's wife, and friends from St. George's Church Wolverton, for the tangible expression of their gratitude. He hoped that the fellowship would not be lost.
People he said, had been extremely liberal in giving money and gifts to furnish the hall for services, and he thanked everyone who had helped over the years.
The Rector closed the meeting with prayers after which, coffee and biscuits were served by ladies of the congregation.

The Memorial Hall - 2015