A Village Hall for Thoralby

Planning and Preparation
Poster advertising Public Meeting: residents of Thoralby, Newbiggin & Bishopdale, 27 Jan., 1936 ​
© Thoralby Through Time

Poster advertising a Public Meeting of the residents of Thoralby, Newbiggin & Bishopdale, 27th January, 1936

Following the loss of six lives from Thoralby, Newbiggin and Bishopdale during the Great War, a War Memorial Fund was established to provide a permanent memorial to these servicemen. A decision was made in 1919 that the money raised would be used to extend Thoralby Reading Room into a Village Hall, thus providing a "living memorial" to these six men. A bank account was opened, called "Thoralby Reading Room Extension Fund," and some money was raised, but nothing further was done until 1936, when a Committee was established to move the project forward. The minutes of that committee (transcribed in full below) show that there were differences of opinion about where this Village Hall should be situated and how it should be built.

"Minutes of Meetings Held in Connection with the Proposed Village Memorial Hall for

Thoralby, Newbiggin and Bishopdale

(Page 1)

     The minutes of a Public Meeting of the residents of Thoralby, Newbiggin and Bishopdale held in the Thoralby Reading Room on Monday 27th January, 1936 at 7.30 p.m.

     Mr J.R. Sayer explained that the business of the meeting was to consider the expenditure of the War Memorial Fund, amounting to approximately £135, now in Barclays Bank, Hawes, and hoped that a definite decision might be reached as to the disposal of this amount.

     It was proprosed and carried that Mr. John Heseltine take the chair.

     The Chairman briefly referred to the great loss the nation had suffered in the recent death of King George V and invited those present to stand in silence for a short period.

     The audience responded respectfully.

     Mr. J.R. Sayer then stated that some years...

(Page 2) 

ago Mr. J. Atkinson had paid out of his own pocket, to a firm of solicitors in Leyburn, the sum of £3/15/- for the drawing up of a Deed referring to the transfer of a piece of land on the east side of the Thoralby Reading room from Captain Chapman-Purchas of Leyburn to the Trustees of the Reading Room for the proposed extension of that building.

     After some discussion it was agreed to unanimously that this be refunded to Mr. J. Atkinson out of the War Memorial Fund.

     The meeting was then thrown open for suggestions as to the most desirable way of expending the sum in question. After considerable discussion the three following schemes were definitely suggested:-

1. Extension of the present Thoralby Reading Room.

2. The erection of a new building.

3. The provision of Playing Fields.

     The following were constituted a committee...

(Page 3) 

to consider these schemes and to report to an adjourned meeting on 10th February 1936 at 7.30. Thoralby – J. Atkinson & C. Heseltine. Newbiggin – R. Heseltine & W.H. Saville. Bishopdale – M.H. Sayer & T. Dinsdale (Dale Foot).

     Minutes of the Adjourned Meeting held on 10th February 1936 in the Thoralby Reading Room at 7.30. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

     The Chairman (Mr. J. Heseltine) then reported that the Committee considered that a new building on the east side of the Thoralby Reading Room was the best suggested scheme and that Mr. M. Webster and Mr. J. Atkinson were prepared to give sufficient land for a room 24’ x 46’ or thereabouts.

     It was unanimously agreed that Messrs M. Webster and J. Atkinson be heartily thanked for their generous offer.

     Reference was then made to the several conditions attached to the Free Grant and Loan offered by the Carnegie...

(Page 4)

Trust but no action was taken.

     Mr. C. Heseltine then proposed and Mr. S. Dinsdale seconded and it was unanimously agreed to that the scheme for the erection of a new hall on the site offered be proceeded with subject to the Trustees of the Thoralby Reading consenting to the extension of their Trust to include the new building and to the Architect's Report as to the probable cost being satisfactory.

     It was then agreed to that Mr. S. Dinsdale communicate with R. Jacques Esq. Architect of Nelson and a native of Thoralby with respect to his willingness to draw up plans and estimates of the cost.

     Mr. M. Webster proposed and Mr. J. Atkinson seconded that a Building Committee consisting of 6 representatives from Thoralby 4 from Newbiggin and 2 from Bishopdale be appointed to consider the proposed... 

(Page 5)

scheme in further detail and report to a later Public Meeting of the Residents of the district.

     The following were proposed and agreed to stand –

     For Thoralby – Messrs J. Atkinson, C. Heseltine, M. Webster, W. Metcalfe, J.R. Sayer and F. Dinsdale.

     For Newbiggin – Messrs R. Heseltine, W. H. Saville, J. Sayer and T. Dinsdale.

     For Bishopdale – Messrs M.H. Sayer (Myers Garth) and T. Dinsdale (Dale Foot).

     It was further moved by R. Heseltine and seconded by Mr. C. Heseltine that W. Hy. Saville be Secretary for this Building Committee while the preliminary arrangements are being made. This concluded the business. Signed John Heseltine (Chairman).(

(Page 6)

     The Minutes of a Meeting of the Building Committee in the Thoralby Reading Room on Saturday 29th February 1936 at 3 P.M.

     The following members were present – Messrs C. Heseltine, J. Atkinson, T. Dinsdale (Dale Foot). R. Heseltine, J.R. Sayer, M.H. Sayer, F. Dinsdale, J. Sayer, the Chairman – J. Heseltine the Hon. Secy. W. Hy. Saville.

     The Meeting was called primarily to consider and formulate in its most essential features the proposed building scheme prior to meeting the Architect, R. Jaques Esq. A.R.I.B.A. at 4 P.M. but Mr. Jaques found he could not be present as arranged and hoped to attend some day after Monday 2nd March.

     The Hon. Secy. read the Minutes of the Meetings held on 27th January 1936 and 10th February 1936.

     On the motion of Mr. J.R. Sayer seconded by Mr. C. Heseltine the minutes were approved and subsequently signed by the Chairman.

(Page 7)

     On business arising out of the minutes Mr. J.R. Sayer reported that the Trustees of the Thoralby Reading Room at a meeting held at 11 A.M. on 29th February 1936, in the Reading Room agreed to accept the trusteeship of the proposed new building and had no objection to a door way through the east wall to the new building subject to the proviso that no financial responsibility for the scheme be attached to the trustees.

     Thus the first step was cleared for the proposed scheme to proceed.

     After a lengthy discussion during which the dimensions of other village halls in the neighbourhood were mentioned it was considered and agreed to that the main hall of the proposed building should be 50’ long and 26’ broad outside measurements and that in addition, providing Mr. M. Webster is willing to give the additional land necessary, two cloakrooms and conveniences be at the north end of the hall, or failing this, as an alternative scheme the...

(Page 8) 

cloakrooms etc. be at the N.W. corner of the main hall on land which Mr. J. Atkinson kindly offered on condition that a strip of land the depth of the projecting cloakrooms and the length of the hall as far as the present N. wall of the Reading Room be taken over. An emergency exit could give fire access to this land.

     It was further suggested that the walls should be of brick with rough casting outside, timbered roof with blue slates, entrance with inner vestibule at the S end from the road up a slope.

     Also that a movable platform the width of the building should be provided with storage for same above the cloakrooms.

     It was also arranged that the whole building committee should meet the Architect Mr. Jaques when he visits the village.

     The meeting then ended.                                                                                                                           Signed R. Heseltine, Newbiggin

(Page 9)

     The Minutes of a Meeting of the Building Committee held on Friday 13th March 1936, at 7.0 P.M. in the Thoralby Reading Room.

     Present – Messrs J. Atkinson, C. Heseltine, J.R. Sayer, M. Webster, F. Dinsdale, W. Metcalf, R. Heseltine, J. Sayer, T. Dinsdale, M.H. Sayer, T. Dinsdale (Dale Foot) and the Hon. Secy. W.Hy. Saville.

     Owing to the unavoidable absence through illness of the Chairman, Mr. J. Heseltine, Mr. R. Heseltine was voted to the chair.

     The minutes of the previous meeting held on Saturday 29th February 1936, were read and on the motion of Mr. J.R. Sayer seconded by Mr. C. Heseltine, were adopted and signed by the chairman.

     It was reported that the whole of the Building Committee met the Architect, R. Jaques, Esq., on 4th March when in a general way, the position and size of the site were pointed out on which a brick building rough cast on the exterior to consist of a main assembly...

(Page 10) 

room with platform to two dressing rooms with conveniences beyond was to be erected. Mr. Jaques promised to return with an assistant on some future date to make exact measurements etc. of the site.

     A long discussion then took place about the size of the main room and the two ante rooms.

     Ultimately it was understood that the main room should be about 44’ long and 26’ wide outside measurements with ante rooms 7’ 8” x 13’ each at the north end.

     Mr. J.R. Sayer moved and Mr. F. Dinsdale seconded that the Architect should be informed that the cost of the building and fittings should be approximately £500.

     The Hon. Secy. then read a statement referring to the functions of the Building Committee as being charged with the preparation of a scheme, with a full report for the next Public Meeting. It was urged that the report should comprise details of the accommodation fittings, furniture, estimated cost and suggested method or methods of raising the required money.

(Page 11)

     The statement then drew attention to the second condition attached to a Grant or Loan from the Carnegie U.K. Trust namely that the trust deed gives the different organisations and interests in the village the right to appoint representatives to the Committee of Management.

     Further it was pointed out that the term ‘Village Hall’ implied this wider basis of representation on the Committee of Management as being required to be eligible for a Grant.

     A long discussion followed. There appeared to be objections to including in the Report the Committee had to prepare any references to modes of raising the money and further to meeting the condition of the Carnegie U.K. Trust referring to the trust deed.

     Finally it was moved by Mr. M. Webster and seconded by Mr. J. Sayer that the proposed building be called ‘Village Hall’. This was carried unanimously.

     The meeting then ended.                                                                                                                                           (Signed) John Heseltine

(Page 12)

     The minutes of a Meeting of the Building Committee held on Thursday, 23rd December 1937, at 8 P.M. in the Thoralby Reading Room.

     The following members attended – Messrs J. Heseltine (Chairman), J. Atkinson, C. Heseltine, M. Webster, F. Dinsdale, R. Heseltine, J. Sayer, M.H. Sayer, T. Dinsdale (Dale Foot) and W.H. Saville (Hon. Secretary Pro tem).

     Absent – Messrs J.R. Sayer, T. Dinsdale and W. Metcalf.

     The Minutes of the Meeting held on Friday, 13th March 1936 were read by the Hon. Secretary and on the motion of Mr. R. Heseltine seconded by Mr. C. Heseltine were confirmed and signed by the Chairman.

     On business arising out of the minutes the question was raised concerning the Balance of the War Memorial Fund still in the hands of Mr. J.R. Sayer as to its exact amount and as to its custody in future.

(Page 13)

     Several members expressed disapproval of the present position in two particulars, first that only an approximate amount had been stated and second that seeing Mr. J.R. Sayer was no longer a resident in Thoralby or district the fund should stand in the joint names of two residents of the area. Ultimately on the motion of Mr. R. Heseltine seconded by Mr. M.H. Sayer it was unanimously decided – "That a deputation consisting of Messrs J. Atkinson, C. Heseltine, R. Heseltine and the Hon. Secretary, seek an interview with Mr. J.R. Sayer by appointment on 28th December to ascertain the exact amount of the War Memorial Fund remaining in his care and to request that this amount be transferred to the care of the deputation pending the appointment of a Treasurer for the Building Fund.”

     It was reported by the Secretary that the plans...

(Page 14)

of the proposed Village Hall prepared by the Architect, R. Jaques Esq. 3, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancs. were received the previous day Wed. 22nd. inst. These plans were examined by the members in a general way.

     The Secretary then read Mr. Jaques’ letter accompanying the plans in which after apologising for the length of time that had elapsed since first promising to prepare plans and estimate of cost without charge there was attention drawn to sundry alterations in what was first intended it proceeded to give as his opinion the cost of the proposed scheme as between £650 and £700 and further offered to come to Thoralby to explain and discuss the matter at some future date.

     It was moved by Mr. F. Dinsdale and seconded by Mr. M.H. Sayer that the Secretary convey to Mr. Jaques, the grateful thanks and appreciation...

(Page 15)

of the members of the Building Committee for his services.

     A general discussion then took place regarding methods of raising the necessary funds and the next public meeting but no further resolutions were proposed.

     The meeting then ended...


     The Minutes of the Building Committee held on Thursday, 30th December 1937 at 7 P.M. in the Thoralby Methodist School Room.

     All the members were present with the exception of Mr. F. Dinsdale.

     The Minutes of the previous meeting held on 23rd Dec. were read by the Secretary and on the motion of Mr. R. Heseltine seconded by Mr. J. Sayer were adopted.

     The Secretary then read a copy of the letter which had been forwarded to Mr. J.R. Sayer conveying the Resolution passed by the Committee on the 23rd inst. but was requested neither to read his covering note nor Mr. J.R. Sayer's written answer seeing that Mr. Sayer was personally present. Subsequently the Chairman intervened stating that he thought in common with the others present that Mr. Sayer had read more into the communication than was intended and seeing that the Committee now knew...

(Page 17)

that the Fund under the Title of “Thoralby Reading Room Extension Fund” opened on 25th February 1919 in Barclays Bank Limited was in-tact and that the balance standing to the Credit of the Fund at the moment was £136 –2 –0 and that Mr. J.R. Sayer had power to draw, he thought the cause of friction had been removed and that no useful purpose could be served in continuing the discussion.

     Mr. J.R. Sayer then withdrew his resignation of membership of this Committee and hoped he would be allowed to serve the interests of Thoralby as he had tried to do hitherto.

     Arising out of this same matter after discussion it was moved by Mr. J.R. Sayer and seconded by Mr. R. Heseltine – That at the Annual Meeting of the Members of the Thoralby Reading Room they be asked to agree to the transfer of the “Thoralby Reading Room Extension Fund” to the Treasurer or...


of the New Building Fund if or when required. This was carried.

     A general discussion then took place about the Plans and Estimate of Cost of the Proposed Village Hall. As many of the members desired detailed information about many points especially as to the possibility of reducing the estimated cost it was moved by Mr. J.R. Sayer seconded by Mr. C. Heseltine and adopted

     That Mr. R. Jaques the Architect be asked to name a date when he would be able to meet the Committee regarding the Plans and Estimate of Cost.

     The meeting then ended.

(Inside back page)

Proposed Village Memorial Hall, Thoralby. Building Committee

Chairman – Mr. John Heseltine, Newbiggin

For Thoralby – Messrs J. Atkinson, C. Heseltine M. Webster, W. Metcalf, F. Dinsdale, J.R. Sayer

For Newbiggin – Messrs R. Heseltine, J. Sayer W.Hy. Saville (Hon. Secy. Pro tem) T. Dinsdale

For Bishopdale – Messrs M.H. Sayer (Myersgarth) T. Dinsdale (Dale Foot).

Trustees of the Thoralby Reading Room

Messrs J. Atkinson, Geo. Willis, J.R. Sayer, M.H. Sayer (Myersgarth) J. Sayer (Aysgarth) Capt. Chapman Purchas, Cliff Lodge, Leyburn."


Despite the lengthy discussions minuted above, little progress had been made when war broke out in 1939. The project was revitalised briefly in 1944 when an alternative emerged through Bob Heseltine offering to sell to the Committee the former blacksmith's house opposite The George Inn.


(Loose leaf of paper placed inside the Minute Book)

     "General Meeting Sep 15 1944 to consider proposals put forward towards building a Village Hall for Thoralby Newbiggin & Bishopdale.

     Proposed by Mr. Hedley that the building offered by R. Heseltine be accepted for the converting into a village Hall. Seconded by Mr. R. Musgrave. 

     Proposed by Mr. W. Metcalfe and seconded by Mr. R. Spraggon that we carry on with the presented plans in hand of a Hall attached to the present institute. This proposal was carried.

     Proposed by Mr. Chapman – Seconded by Mr. Hedley that the plans be submitted to the Rural District Council."


(Additional small piece of paper placed inside  the Minute Book’)

"Deceased  J. Heseltine – J. Atkinson – S. Dinsdale – C. Heseltine   J. Sayer

Left District  W.H. Saville – M. Sayer"

(Poster and transcriptions from Minute Book courtesy of Frank & Martha E. Snaith)

Events leading to the Opening of the Village Hall


By 1949, when Thoralby and District Women's Institute was founded, little further progress had been made. Members of the Women's Institute could see how a village hall would benefit their organisation and the community as a whole. It would provide better facilities than the Reading Room, where they held their earliest meetings, and would enable them to produce plays and organise other events. Therefore, they pressed for urgent action. President of Thoralby Women's Institute, Hilda Hedley, said that if the Village Hall Committee would not undertake it, then the Women's Institute would do so. Bob Heseltine was also becoming impatient. After the Building Committee had accepted his offer in 1944 to sell them a suitable house, garage and garden for £80, nothing further had happened, so he issued an ultimatum in 1950: complete the purchase and build the hall within three years or the offer will be withdrawn. This house, originally built in 1704, had been used for storage since the turn of the century (see image below of the property in1951), when the last occupant, the blacksmith Matthew Willis, had moved to Rose Cottage. 

Thoralby village hall: The property in 1951, when it was used for storing timber
© Thoralby Through Time

The property in 1951, when it was used for storing timber

(courtesy of the Darlington & Stockton Times, 1951).

Thoralby barn used for dances before 1953
© Thoralby Through Time

Taking down the barn near the George Inn 1966/7. Before the village hall was opened in 1953, dances were held in an upstairs room of this barn (courtesy of George V. & Audrey Sadler.)

A Public Meeting held in Thoralby Reading Room on 10th May 1951 led to the appointment of six Trustees and eight permanent members of the Management Committee (see document below and the transcription below it): 

V.H. Thoralby: Trustee & Management Committee 10.05.1951
© Thoralby Through Time

An original door and doorway with a date stone ‘1704 M.S. ‘


Public Meeting, Thoralby Reading Room. 10 May 1951.

Trust deed

duly, executed

& signed - in the

custody of Messrs

Willan & Johnson

Trustees appointed.

[1] Mrs. Hilda Hedley, Newbiggin

[2] Mrs. Phyllis Musgrave, Newbiggin

[3] Mr. Wm. Metcalfe, Old Hall, Thoralby

[4] Mr. Robt. Heseltine, High Green, Thoralby

[5] Mr. Harry Snaith, Holmeside, Thoralby

[6] Thomas Dinsdale, Dale Foot, Bishopdale

 who are ex-officio permanent members of the Management Committee to which the following persons were appointed.

[1] Mr. W E Metcalfe, Thoralby

[2] Mrs J H Scarr, Thoralby

[3] Mr. Albert Heseltine, Thoralby

[4] Mrs. Herbert Scarr, Swine Cote, Thoralby 

[5] Mr. Joseph Chapman, Longridge, Bishopdale

[6] Mrs. Sylvia M. Heseltine, Newbiggin

[7] Mr. Robt. Musgrave, Newbiggin

[8] Mr. James Musgrave, Newbiggin

 of which two members automatically retire at the annual general meeting to be held in the 2nd week in January, yearly & are eligible for re-election."

Stanley Hawkins, a retired engineer, living in the village, offered to draw up plans to “smarten up” the house while retaining the mullioned windows, the old stonework and the character of the building. At 41 feet, the building was long enough, but the width was only 15 feet, so he proposed moving the south wall further out, which would extend the width of the hall to 24 feet, but still retain the mullioned windows.


Some of the stone for the extension was brought from the Rookery after it was demolished in 1952, as were four beautiful pitch pine panelled doors now in the main hall. The total cost of the conversion was £2,540. 7s.0d. When finished, the village hall comprised a large main room with a stage, a committee room, cloakrooms and a kitchen, all with electric heating and lighting. All the work was done by local craftsmen except for a sprung wooden dance floor fitted by a firm from Hull.

The Village Hall Opens


Headline News: The front page of the Thirsk Bedale & Northallerton Times, Thursday 15th October, 1953

Thoralby V.H.: Headline News: The Front Page, Thirsk Bedale & Northallerton Times, 15.10.1953

The original house door with a

lintel inscribed '1704 M S'

© Thoralby Through Time

"A dream come true at Thoralby




Well-wisher to double £600 raised to clear £1,000 debt

The hopes of many years were realised on Wednesday last week for the inhabitants of Thoralby, Newbiggin, and Bishopdale, when in beautiful weather the new hall to serve the district was opened at Thoralby by Mrs. Hedley, of Newbiggin. The hall has cost £2,000 to build of which £1,000 has been raised. However a further £600 was realised during the first events at the hall, and a well-wisher has promised to double the £600, so the hall should start free of debt. Three years ago, the building committee, of which Coun. W.E. Metcalfe is chairman and Mr. M. Webster, secretary and treasurer, bought from Mr. R. Heseltine for £80 an early 18th century building which was used as a store. They set about with vigour to raise sufficient funds to convert and enlarge it into a commodious village hall. The old-world character of the building, with its mullioned windows has been retained as far as possible. As it is to-day, the building consists of a large main hall, a committee room, cloak rooms, and a kitchen. There is a special hard wood floor for dancing and there is electrical heating.


Stone from Rookery

Some of the stone for the extensions and the beautifully panelled doors in the main hall, were brought from the Rookery, the former youth hostel which has been demolished. The opening ceremony was attended by many local people and many from a wide area in the surrounding district. In introducing Mrs. Hedley, who is President of Thoralby and District W.I., Coun. Metcalfe said several attempts had been made during the past 30 years to provide a suitable village hall, but they have all fallen through. It was on the forming of a Women's Institute that the matter arose again, and through Mrs. Hedley a meeting was called. From this meeting it was decided to look for a suitable site. Mr. Metcalfe thanked the various committees and all who had assisted in helping to raise funds. He especially thanked Mr. S. Hawkins who had drawn up the plans and designs (this had saved the committee at least £150), and Mr. T. Long, of Skipton, for the gift of the stone from the Rookery. In declaring the hall open, Mrs. Hedley said it was a memorable day in a glorious year [The Coronation], and it was a privilege to perform such a pleasant duty.


Well and wisely

They had for many years felt the need for a suitable building for their social activities, and for the last three years they had planned and worked for the great day. She hoped the new hall would be the centre for recreation and entertainment for both young and old, and that it would be used well and wisely for the benefit of all. In opening the sale, which took place inside the building, Mrs. Hedley said that when they first considered building the hall the government had withdrawn all grants. Nevertheless they tackled the project with true Yorkshire independence, and decided to build and pay for their own hall, although all they possessed at the time was faith and courage. During the past three years, nearly £1,000 had been raised towards the cost of just over £2,000. She understood that a well-wisher had promised to double the amount raised during the next two days, and appealed for a generous response. Mrs. Hedley thanked all who had helped in any particular way, and in particular Mr. M. Webster, who as secretary and treasurer had done such good work.


Presentation of picture

Mrs. S. Hawkins proposed a vote of thanks to Mrs. Hedley which was seconded by Mrs. J. Scaur. Elizabeth Scaur presented Mrs. Hedley with a bouquet. A water colour of "Wassett Fell," by Fred Lawson, was presented to her on behalf of the building and management committee and the Women's Institute. All the work on the hall was done by local craftsmen.


Sale of gifts

The sale of gifts lasted until 7.30 p.m (over 5 hours), and the auctioneers were Mr. R. Heseltine, Mr. W. Metcalfe and Mr. C. Riggs. Tea and a dance followed with music provided by the Ramblers Dance Band. On Thursday, Mr. J.R. Hopper conducted a sale of sheep, chickens, dogs, geese and ducks, chiefly the gifts of local farmers. This was followed by other events, including a whist drive in the evening for which there were 35 tables in play. M.C.s were Mr. J. Chapman and Mr. F. Heseltine. The prizes were presented by Mrs. Hawkins to Miss S. Heseltine, Mrs. T. Dinsdale, Mrs. Alderson, Miss Lambert, Mr. S. Bell, Mr. F. Moore, Mr. W.A. Alderson and Mr. J. Heseltine. These efforts, with donations and competitions, raised over £600. It is expected that with the well-wisher's generous donation to double the amount the hall will be free of debt." 



Thoralby Village Hall opening day celebrations, Wednesday 7 Oct., 1953
© Thoralby Through Time

The Building and Management Committee of the new village hall at Thoralby outside the hall on Wednesday last week before the opening. (Photograph courtesy of the Trustees of Thoralby and District Village Hall)

The Building and Management Committee standing in the foreground are (from left to right): Margaret Scarr, Sylvia Heseltine, William Metcalfe, Tom Dinsdale, Harry Snaith, Bob Heseltine, Joe Chapman, Phyllis Musgrave, Hilda Hedley, Ted Metcalfe, Michael Webster, Stanley Hawkins, Bob Musgrave, Albert Heseltine, Jennie Scarr and James Musgrave.


On 7th and 8th October, 1953, there was a two-day fund raising effort. The cost of the conversion was £2,000, but £1,000 had already been raised by the war memorial fund and other fund raising activities. A further £600 was raised by the events on 7th and 8th October. The "well-wisher" referred to by Mrs. Hedley, who offered to double the amount raised during the opening celebrations, was, in fact, herself and her husband. Their generosity ensured that the Village Hall was able to begin life free from debt. 


Page 2 of the Thirsk Bedale & Northallerton Times, Thursday 15th October, 1953

Thoralby V.H.: Page 2 Thirsk Bedale & Northallerton Times 15.10.1953
© Thoralby Through Time
Rookery door village hall

Panelled pitch pine door, formerly at the Rookery.

Panelled pitch pine door, 

formerly at the Rookery

"Bring-and-buy aids new hall fund


[transcriptions of the captions to the photographs above]


The bring-and-buy sale in the new hall at Thoralby after the opening on Wednesday last week [see original photograph below, courtesy of the Trustees of Thoralby and District Village Hall].


Mrs. Hedley, the opener, with the chairman of the hall committee, Mr. W. E. Metcalfe [no original photograph].


Mr. J.R. Hopper auctioning gifts of hens, geese, lambs, a calf and puppy, in aid of the new hall at Thoralby on Thursday [see original photograph below, courtesy of the Trustees of Thoralby and District Village Hall].


Elizabeth Scarr, of Stanley Cottage, with a hen bought for her at the sale on the Village Green, Thoralby [see original photograph below, courtesy of Elizabeth Martin]. 


Visitors to the sale looking at some of the lambs which were auctioned in aid of the new hall [no original photograph]."

Inside Thoralby Village Hall Auction of Donated Goods Wednesday 7 Oct., 1953
© Thoralby Through Time

This photograph was taken inside the Village Hall at the auction of donated goods on Wednesday 7th October 1953. Notice that there were no curtains at the windows yet! The auction lasted from 2.00 p.m. until nearly 7.30 p.m. (over 5 hours). The auctioneers were Mr. R. Heseltine, Mr. W. Metcalfe and Mr. C. Riggs. A tea and a dance followed with music provided by the Ramblers Dance Band.

Thoralby Village Green: Thursday 8 Oct.,1953,  sale of donated goods
© Thoralby Through Time

This photograph, taken on Thursday 8th October shows J.R. Hopper auctioning sheep, chickens, lambs, dogs, geese and ducks etc., chiefly the gifts of local farmers, to raise money for the village hall. Following the sale, there was a whist drive in the evening with 35 tables in play. M.C.s were Mr. J. Chapman and Mr. F. Heseltine.


The people in the photograph are, from left to right, Ted Metcalfe, an unknown man partly hidden behind Ted Metcalfe, Bob Heseltine, James Furnish, Joe Scarr, another unidentified man, J.R. Hopper, Joe Chapman, Linda Atkinson, 'Ginny' Middleton, Willy Metcalfe, Stanley Hawkins, Bill Spence, John Hedley, another identified man and Billy Snaith. 


A presentation was made by Mrs. Hawkins on behalf of the Building and Management Committee and the Women's Institute to Mrs. Hilda Hedley, the driving force behind the project, of a water colour of Wassett Fell by Fred Lawson. Elizabeth Scarr, of Stanley Cottage, aged two, presented Mrs. Hedley with a bouquet. 

Thoralby Village Green: Elizabeth Scarr and her dad 'Jiff' with a hen bought for her 8 Oct., 1953
© Thoralby Through Time

Elizabeth Scarr and her dad 'Jiff' with a hen bought for her on the day.

Thoralby Village Green: 3 girls sold their kittens
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Elizabeth Kilburn; Judith Ann Heseltine of Thoralby, and Catherine Ramsbottom of Street Head Inn, Newbiggin, who sold their kittens for 2s. 6d. each. (Photograph courtesy of Mary Kilburn)

Thoralby Village Hall: Balance Sheet for the Opening Celebrations, 1953
© Thoralby Through Time

Balance Sheet for the Opening Celebrations, (courtesy of the Trustees of Thoralby and District Village Hall.)

The largest income came from the Farm Gift Sale, which raised £195 18s. 6d, followed by the Bring & Buy Sale which raised £166 17s. 9d.

Thoralby Village Hall: Balance Sheet for the conversion of the hall, 1953
© Thoralby Through Time

Balance Sheet for the conversion of the hall (courtesy of the Trustees of Thoralby and District Village Hall). 

The largest payments were £906 16s. 0d to the builders, Miller & Son, and £780 9s. 6d to the carpenters, J. E. Coates & Son. The sprung dance floor cost £249 12s. 9d, and was fitted by Hollis Bros. of Hull, while building materials were purchased from the demolished Rookery for £47 18s. 0d. 

Thoralby V.H.: Comittee Members, 1953
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Committee members (from left to right):  William Edward Metcalfe, Hilda Hedley, Stanley Hawkins, Bob Heseltine, Michael Webster and Michael Webster Jr. (courtesy of Thoralby the Trustees of Thoralby and District Village Hall)

Thoralby V. H : 1914-18 War tablet, dedicated to men from the district who gave their lives
© Thoralby Through Time

The unveiling by the Rev. J. Benson of Aysgarth of a War Memorial tablet dedicated to the six men from the district who gave their lives in the 1914—1918 War. The tablet was unveiled on 26th May 1956, some thirty years after the end of the Great War. Also in the group are M.I. Dickinson (left), Aysgarth British Legion standard-bearer; Coun. William Edward Metcalfe, chairman of the village hall committee; and Mrs. Hilda Hedley, president of the Women's Institute (image courtesy of The Northern Echo, May 28th 1956.)

The Great War Memorial Tablet, in Thoralby Village Hall
© Thoralby Through Time

"A living memorial. Unveiling the tablet, the Vicar of Aysgarth said a memorial was to preserve remembrance and in that case it was the remembrance of people who gave their lives for their country more than a generation ago. There they had a living memorial not just a tablet, and as they used the Hall they would always be honouring the dead and serving the living...

After the unveiling, the Village Hall committee held a bring and buy sale to raise funds for the decoration and additional heating of the hall...A public tea followed. This was provided and served by members of the Women's Institute. A comic football match between the men and women of the village [see photograph below] caused much amusement. In the evening there was a dance."

Thoralby Village Hall: Comic football match, men v. women, 1956
© Thoralby Through Time

Participants in the comic football match. Left to right standing: Frank Heseltine (partly out of shot), Harry Snaith, Mike Heseltine, Barbara Heseltine, Mary Atkinson, Harold Webster, Sylvia Heseltine, Mike Percival, Derek Heseltine, Billy Snaith and Stanley Cockburn. Front Row: Brian McGregor, Robert Webster and Judith Ann Heseltine. 

(Courtesy of Frank & Martha E. Snaith)