At one time the Village Hall was a church in the village of Brough, which was built by Mr. George Thomas Pierce Duncombe in memory of his brother, who died in 1874.
Later, after a bigger parish church was built at Brough, Mr. Pierce Duncombe had his own building carefully dismantled and erected in his own grounds in Winthorpe at the edge of the main road. In the early years, this building was used as a Village Hall for all kinds of public meetings, and it was also a library and men's reading room, containing books loaned by Mr. Duncombe. In 1907, when all his property in the village was sold, Mr. Duncombe presented these books to the Rector for use in the parish in the future, together with a harmonium, chessmen, draughts, etc.
The room was also in great demand for social gatherings and entertainments, lantern lectures, harvest-suppers and whist drives. e.g.
January 1902: "On December 28th the children of the Sunday School met at the Hall Room for their Christmas Entertainment. The first part was a Children's Play, ‘Red Riding Hood' capitally acted and sung by Mrs. Hartson's children and Mrs. Bailey's daughter and niece, trained by Mrs. Harrison, who acted ‘Granny'...... The last part was a Lantern Entertainment with slides kindly lent by the Mayor of Newark."
Also in January there was a "Lecture on Melanesia illustrated by lime-light pictures lent to the Rector by the S.P.G. The lime-light worked brilliantly."
December 1903: "A dramatic entertainment was given, admission being free, by a strong caste of ladies, Mrs. Griffith, Mrs. Harrison, Miss Branston, Miss Ord and Miss Parnell. Peals of laughter greeted their costumes, poses and talk as in various scenes they gave charade plays. During the intervals for making-up, the Rector read from the memoirs of Southern the famous actor, stories of his wonderful practical jokes."
The room was also used for lectures, and must sometimes have seemed a forbidding place to the school children when they were sent along there for treatment from the schools' dentist.
After 1907 Winthorpe Hall became the property of Capt. J.W. and Mrs. Need, and although at first permission was granted for the Village Hall room to be used as before, some differences arose between the rector and Captain Need which resulted in the room being closed to all village activities for a time.
Between the wars the Village Hall went on being used for community activities until 1938, when Captain Need presented it to the village.
During the Second World War, when Winthorpe Hall was requisitioned by the military authorities, the hall room was used as a store and rest-room. After the war, in September 1947, the Parish Council as trustees, in order to extend the building to include toilets, cloakroom and a kitchen, applied to the Carnegie Trust for a grant, and in the meantime embarked on an ambitious programme of film shows to raise money, among which were "Love from a Stranger," "Mutiny on the Bounty," "Hellzapoppin" and "Scrooge." There were regular whist drives for the same purpose, and the room was - as for that matter it still is - in constant use for parish council meetings, Sunday school, Mothers' Union tea parties, Christmas fairs, cricket and football club teas, harvest suppers, private parties, from 1954 on, Women's Institute meetings. In 1951 a loan of £300 was granted by the National Council of Social Service, a loan that was guaranteed by Messrs. R.H. Bradley, R.Spencer, K. Hole, Col. R.A.G. Stewart and Miss Rippingale.
The Village Hall has only one main room measuring about 33 ft. x 16 ft. and during the mid-sixties, when the population had increased to about 700 following the building of the two housing estates, The Spinney and Woodlands, there were many discussions about building a new and bigger Village Hall. However, rising costs and doubts whether such a hall would be adequately used, made for caution and today, 1971, the village still uses the same hall and keeps costs down as far as possible by occasional do-it-yourself efforts in repairs, maintenance and decoration.
On the walls there are some interesting prints relating to the village, an original Howlett engraving of Eleven Views in Winthorpe, 1807, (Alderman G.R.Walker has one also), prints of Winthorpe Hall and the old mill and a photograph of the old church. There is also at present a painting of the royal coat-of-arms dating from the reign of George III, and a copy of the Enclosure Map of 1775. The coat-of-arms is actually church property, and is included in the inventory as such.
(The above account is compiled from notes made by the late Mr. Herbert Speight and from parish magazines.)
Further reading can be found in
The Story of the Church that moved in Volume 3.