History of the Hall

BVH under construction in 1960

The cost of construction and that of various extensions over the years, has come from many sources but largely from funds raised by the activities of the locals who recognised the importance of such a building to the local community.

The present Village Hall was officially opened in 1960 but on the north wall is a commemorative stone bearing the date of 2nd June 1953, the date of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The seven year delay indicates certain difficulties but note the name of Mr Alfred Brightwell who was aged 91 when he laid the stone. The village owes him a great debt of gratitude. In 1944 he had made a gift of land to the village in memory of his son who had been killed in action in the First Word War. This land was the first section of what has become the Brightwell Recreation Ground adjoining the Village Hall.

Commemorative stone at Byfield Village Hall
Commemorative stone at Byfield Village Hall

Looking at the pictures of the Hall under construction in 1960 and that of the present day shows how the Hall has been extended on three sides so as to provide more space for additional activities. Requirements have changed over the years requiring extensions and alterations. For instance until the 1960’s the village’s medical services were provided from the general practitioner’s own home. From 1966 the GP was afforded a surgery beneath the stage of the Village Hall but the need for more space and the provision of greater security for prescription drugs led in 1974 to an extension on the lower level. The GP’s surgery operated from there until 1981 when the Byfield Medical Centre opened in Church Street.

Byfield Village Hall during construction
Mr Alfred Brightwell, then aged 91, laying the Foundation stone on Coronation Day 2nd June 1953 (Byfield Photo Museum: Lender Mr Derek Thornton)
BVH under construction in 1960
Mr Checkley outside the Village Hall during construction in 1960. Note the original main entrance was on the north wall but now the entrance is via the extension added on the east side. (Byfield Photo Museum: Lender Mr Fred Hutt)

We work closely with the Byfield Parish Council and benefit from having the Council’s Chairman as a member of the Village Hall Committee.

Meeting Room Refurbishment

We are very grateful to the Northamptonshire Community Foundation and to Daventry District Council for financial support for maintenance work required in the Meeting Room during 2017.  An area of penetrating damp required treatment and once this was complete we carried out extensive refurbishment of the Meeting Room (previously ‘Lower Annex’).  During 2019 we completed refurbishment of the Ladies Cloakroom.

COVID Pandemic

We never closed during the Covid lockdown but made good use of the time when there was little activity to carry out various improvements.  The Stage and adjoining Annex has new carpet and furniture while new lighting and black surrounding curtains make the Stage far more suitable for a variety of uses.  All the collapsible GoPack tables and some of the chairs are now stored in the walk-in cupboard at the end of the Side Annex.  Much old rubbish, accumulated over the years has been cleared from behind the Stage and from the loft.  New insulation has been fitted to the ceiling of the loft.  All this work has been supported by grants from the government via West Northants Council and from HS2.