The Story of Heyford (Extra): VH 60th Grand Opening: 7th May 1960

Nether Heyford Village Hall 60th Anniversary

Grand opening: 7th May 1960 

vh1

Left to Right: Lieut.-Colonel C C S Genese, Miss L N D La Touche, Viscount Althorp, Major W Blaney, Viscountess Althorp, Mr R H Adams, Mrs M M Bartlett and Mr C E North.

Their children and grandchildren will owe them gratitude

‘A memorial to industry and good sense’. That is how Viscount Althorp described Lower Heyford’s new village hall when he declared it open on Saturday Afternoon. Not one penny, he said had been spent on labour costs since the first soil was turned by the villagers in 1958, apart from the short period when the roof was being erected by contractors. He mentioned the generous help from the Rural Community Council and the grant from the Ministry of Education. Village organisations he mentioned with gratitude were the Parish Council, Parochial Council, Methodist and Baptist Churches, British Legion, W.I., Darby & Joan, School managers and the local Athletic Club.

Viscount Althorp said he was sure the Hall would not become a passive venture –
this was most likely to happen when there was a lack of youth among the committee members. The children and grandchildren of those concerned in the building would owe them a great debt of gratitude. Viscount Althorp, accompanied by the Viscountess was introduced by Major W Blaney (president of the building committee) who said the opening was an outstanding day in the life and history of the village. The committee had been exceptionally good, and he mentioned especially Mr George Masters and Mr H Thorneycroft.

Mr Hugh Adams (committee member) gave a history of the building from the first decision (by the W.I. in 1933) to form a special building fund and praised the determination and loyalty of those who gave up their spare time to work on the hall. He also paid tribute to Major Blaney as chairman of the committee. The hall must now be utilized to the fullest extent he said. The building committee would hand over to a management committee.

Mrs M Bartlett, chairman of the executive committee of the Northamptonshire Rural Community Council, said the hall should be used for everybody in the village and supply the social needs of both the old and the young. She mentioned a conference to be held in the County Hall, Northampton next October at which representatives of all village halls in the county would meet. She paid tribute to the help give by Lt-Col Charles Genese (secretary of Northants Rural Community Council and Miss L N La Touche (HM Inspector, Ministry of education). Mr C North voiced thanks to the speakers and Major Blaney a comprehensive vote of thanks. Two visitors from London who attended the ceremony were Miss M Hann (Architect from the National Council of Social Services and Miss O Emerson-Price from the Ministry of Education.

An opening dance was held at the hall in the evening.

An article from the Mercury & Herald – Friday 13th May 1960

Published in The Prattler – May 2020

Archaeologist Dr Den Does It Again – October 2019

The installation of the Basketball/Netball Courts at Heyford Playing Fields was
brought a stage nearer over the weekend of 7/8 September by the efforts of local
Archaeologist Dr Dennis Taylor.

As part of Nether Heyford Playing Fields Association’s (NHPFA) aspirations, the
construction of the new courts was planned on the recently purchased land adjacent to the existing playing fields. The project was estimated to cost £30,000 by Sports Courts UK. Funding has been obtained by a grant of £20,000 from the London Marathon Charitable Trust and a £10,000 Capital grant from South Northants Council. Planning permission has been requested, however the County Assistant Archaeologist applied for a condition to be placed on the application. This meant that an archaeology investigation needed to be undertaken to identify the age and character of crop marks which showed on aerial photographs held in the County Archives.

The cost of this investigation had to be borne by the Planning Applicant. NHPFA
had no funding for this, consequently the whole project was in jeopardy of being
cancelled. The only solution was for the investigation to be undertaken, at no cost, by volunteers. When approached, Dr Den Taylor of South View Nether Heyford, despite being retired, agreed to supervise the investigation. Mr Daryl Welsh of Flore offered to loan and operate his digger for a weekend and Mr Dan Musson of Bugbrooke also offered plant assistance. A further crew of 6 able bodied volunteers was formed and the investigation was organised and carried out 7/8 September.

The County Assistant Archaeologist Liz Mordue and Cllr David Harries visited the
site on the Sunday morning and Dr Taylor showed them the excavations. After
discussions, Liz Mordue agreed that the particular area was of no further
archaeology interest and that the County Environment Records could be updated
accordingly.

This was the second time that Dr Den Taylor had come to the assistance of NHPFA,
as he carried out a similar investigation in 2012 to enable the Bowls Club to build their changing rooms.

Dr Den is an interesting village character. After leaving university with a degree in archaeology, he joined the RAF as a navigator. He flew in De Havilland Mosquito and Super Sabre planes with the 58th Squadron and is now one of two surviving members of his time in the Squadron; he says ‘it makes reunions easier!’. With 14 years service, he left the RAF as a Squadron Leader and worked at several jobs, including being a bricklayer.

On retirement, Dr Taylor returned to Archaeology and after several projects earned his doctorate. He has 4 children who paid for him to pass his Pilots Licence as a 86th Birthday present. Dr Taylor is now a very spritely 92 and serves on the Village Hall Committee.

Thanks again Dr Den, the Basketball/Netball Courts project is now back on track.

Submitted by Geoff Thorneycroft on behalf of NHPFA

NetherHeyfordPlayingFIeldsOctober2019 copy