Memories by Doreen Curtis

Memories of the Kingsely Hall

My first impression of the Kingsley Hall was in 1944/5 when I was at school in Miss Butterfields, the toilets were down there and we had to go on our own in the dark. We also had gym there and used to carry our dumb-bells , the smaller ones had bells in the ends and the bigger ones were made of wood and much heavier.

The Hall itself was much higher then with a balcony running from back to front.I cannot remember much about the new kitchen or stage except that they seemed to be about where they are now.

About 1947 (I think) there was a lot of activity with local businessmen in our front room at No. 1 (now 47) Nelson Road. They were meeting to purchase the Hall so that Westward Ho! had a community centre. I cannot remember much about it but my brother assures me that our Dad signed the cheque. I will not try and name the businessmen because I am sure to leave someone out.

Opening Day came with festivities and the Hall was officially opened by Haydn Wood the composer , there is a plaque to commemorate this somewhere.

There was something doing every night- Table Tennis, Snooker, The Follies and Olde Tyme Dancing. Every Saturday night there was a dance and people came from Bideford and if they could get transport, from further afield. The dances finished about 11.00 pm so as to catch the last bus home.

There was no way into the ‘Youngaton Hotel’ as the Village Inn was then called, as it was felt that to have a drink caused trouble.

I remember learning the Maypole in the Hall with the other boys and girls to be performed on the putting green at carnival time. The Carnival Queen and Attendants were chosen at the Saturday night dances, I remember once my Dad waking me at about 10.30pm to put on my best dress as the Carnival Committee had forgotten a crown bearer.