Kirkbampton Parish

Village Hall

Just after the 1st World War the villagers of Kirkbampton decided it would be a good idea to provide a place for everyone to meet on a regular basis. Laurel Cottage (next to Laurel House) was chosen and each day a fire was lit, papers delivered to the cottage, aptly named THE READING ROOMS.

At this time, a Billiard Room was also set up. It was Mr. Tom Mark’s responsibility as one of the founder members to attend to the daily caretaking of the building, although Mrs. Whitfield attended to the opening up each day and lighting the fire each morning.


The Committee decided that Laurel Cottage could no longer meet the needs of the Village and funds were raised to purchase a New building (actually Ex Army stock). The building was erected on its present site 6 Riggs on the Hill, Kirkbampton at a cost of £2.18s.6d. The conveyance cost 13s 6d. At this time two billiard tables were installed and a Bridge Club was started.


The Home Guard used the Hall for meetings. Local dances became popular and visiting RAF personnel based at Great Orton Airfield regularly frequented them.

The airfield is no longer used by the RAF and became a site for 6 wind turbines before, in 2001 entering the world stage as the burial site for over 750,000 sheep carcasses during the Foot and Mouth epidemic. The site is now a nature reserve. More details regarding access are available from this link.


Transport was more readily available and the bright lights of Carlisle began attracting the local youths who flocked to the cinema’s. Nationally there was a move away from village life and its work (usually farming) to factories and shops in towns. At this time support for the Village Hall diminished although the Annual Bonfire and Church Sale continued.


The Committee held a meeting and decided that if they needed to encourage growth in use of the hall. It was agreed that £50 per annum would be raised to cover the annual running of the hall. During this period activities increased. Dances, Church Sales, Bonfire Night, Film Shows and a Barbecue became regular events. The hall was decorated and new lamp shades purchased, each committee member of the day signed their name on a lampshade for posterity. Does anyone know the whereabouts of these shades now? At this time Mr. Elstree applied to the Committee for permission to bottle and sell beer, sadly his request was turned down by them.


At this time the Committee were concerned about the life and viability of the hall. The Hall itself was owned by the Village but the land was rented for a peppercorn rent from Mr. Holliday. The Government of the day were keen to encourage local community halls and grants were being made available for improvements and equipment BUT the number one proviso was the land and building had to be owned by the village.

Undaunted, our intrepid committee of the day negotiated with Mr. Holliday for the purchase of the land. A Price of £6000.00 was agreed and Mr. Holliday agreed the money could be repaid over a period of six years. Fund raising began in earnest and with the aid of a 50% grant from Allerdale Council the debt to Mr. Holliday was repaid in three years!

Additional fund raising ensured a hall refurbishment. The hall was extended to make way for a proper kitchen rather than the previously curtained off area. During the same period a Village Survey was undertaken. The survey asked the following questions:

  • What did the villagers want from their Village Hall?
  • Did the Village Hall meet their requirements?

Improvements to the hall continued, the floor was replaced. Short Mat bowling was introduced. New tables and chairs were purchased. The kitchen was updated. All grant aided.


Following concerns on the condition of the existing building a report was commissioned on the state of the hall which in the surveyors conclusion stated that in his opinion:

“The aged structure (apart from being totally inadequate for it’s purpose), has deteriorated to a potentially dangerous state considering the public use of the building and I can only recommend the demolition and rebuilding. It would be foolish to erect a new building on the very small site, so I further recommend any new building be on a new site.”