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Stanford in the Vale
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An Outline History of Stanford in the Vale

Browse Chapters:
Domesday Stanford
Medieval Stanford
Reformation and Tudor Stanford
Civil War Stanford
Early Modern Stanford
19th Century Stanford
The First World War
The Inter-War Years
The Second World War
Post-War Stanford
Church and Chapel
Schools and Libraries
Civic Administration
Health and Social Services, and Young People
Village Halls
Fairs, Festivals and Fetes
Clubs and Societies
Acknowledgements & Further Reading
Additional articles:
BBC Domesday 1986
Church Green Fire 2005
Coat Of Arms
Virtual Tour 2003

Village Halls

Stanford's village hall was opened by Pam Ayres, writer of popular humorous verse and a native of this village, on 9 July 1983. When part of the church's glebe land was sold to Barry Side for the Hunter's Field development in about 1964-65, Rev. Selwyn Fry 'purposely retained a portion between the Churchyard and Joyce's Road so that we might have a site, in the very centre of the village, for such parish amenities as might become desirable when the development had progressed' (parish Newsletter, September 1969).

By February 1970, the organisation of the 'recreation ground' had become one of the activities of the Guild of St. Denys (founded 29 October 1969), and fund raising for equipment had begun. In August and September 1971 the Parish Newsletter was indicating wider community involvement and the erection of a climbing frame, and in March 1972 it acknowledged that the Recreation ground on Glebe Field is 'a "do-it-yourself' project which, although sponsored by the Guild of St. Denys, requires all the manpower available'. In September 1972 the vicar reported that 'it has been a most public-spirited effort on the part of teams of volunteers to put up some apparatus for the benefit of the children of the village', but lamented the vandalism that had occurred.

In November 1973 the Parish Newsletter reported that a new committee had been formed consisting of the Parish Council and Village Hall Management Committee to raise money for building a community centre, and at a Parish Meeting held on 11 January 1974 the Parish Council received the approval of the meeting to obtain a loan to purchase the Glebe Land. Plans for the new village hall and a model of it went on display, e.g. in the church in November 1979. On 17 November 1979 the village voted for the new village hall project to go ahead, to be supported by a special Parish Rate. In the end, the new village hall was partially funded by voluntary donations and fundraising activities, the sale of the old village hall, and grants from the Parish Council and the Vale of White Horse District Council.

The construction of the new hall was undertaken in 1981-83, to keep costs down, using self help from villagers, subcontracting and a Youth Opportunities Programme scheme, employing several young people from the village and local area. Plans have been approved for the Village Hall to be extended to provide more flexible facilities for the village.

Before 1983, the village had the Old Village Hall (i.e. the Old School) for social functions and meetings, donated to it in 1969 (anonymously, but after her death in 1986 it was revealed to be by Mrs. Hilary Roncoroni) and used until 1983, and the Village Institute, a wooden structure with a corrugated tin roof, located where the western extension of the school is now, from 1921 to the early 1960s.

The Working Men's Club in Sheard's Lane was built in 1928 on donated land using voluntary labour, being run latterly by its steward Fred 'Buster' Smith until his death in 1977, after which in 1978 it was run by a group of 12 people as the Stanford Social Club.

St. Denys had a church hall, a former RAF building, in St. Denys' Close; the proceeds of the sale of this hall were also given for the new village hall, and the building became a workshop, until it was demolished in 1995 to make way for a new bungalow. Mrs. Keen's private hall is noted below. Playground facilities behind the new Village Hall were much improved in 1992-94, although are now awaiting some more attention.