Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Billy Butlins in the Village Hall





Probably the most attractive things in our little village - are the village signposts!


The train is there because we had a railway station until Dr Beeching closed the line down.

The horse, the blacksmith and anvil are shown because up until a year or two ago we still had a working village blacksmith.

Then we have two horses ploughing a field - around here is all farmland; battered old horse shoes (probably made by our very own blacksmith) still occasionally turn up in the fields.


I know many of you have heard some of this before, but this is for the benefit of  my new readers, to set the scene... the village is very small, no shops now, the school has closed and the church was demolished in the 1600's, we still have a family-run village pub though.


We also have a tiny village hall - it used to be the Methodist Chapel.  In the old days the hall was used almost every day of the week for one group or another.    Women's Institute, Sewing Groups, Youth Clubs, Whist Drives, plays and performances, Talent Shows, Village Shows, Table Tennis, etc.   


Fair to say it was a lively place.



Different times.


Up until a couple of years ago we used to have a wonderful Village Show and a Christmas Bazaar.  Alas, even they have fizzled out now due to lack of support.

All is not lost, however...







Once a month the hall comes to life, okay, it may be merely an echo of times past, but we do our best.


Some of the older residents of the village meet there, to have a chat, eat cake, drink tea, and share some laughter.



Occasionally we will have a guest speaker, or a craft demonstration of some kind, most often we make our own entertainment.   Our local history buff sometimes bring along a collection of documents, photographs, booklets and leaflets of some kind and tells us what he has learned.   It is always interesting. 

His theme on Monday was Butlins holiday camps! 

Just a few miles further along the coast from us,  is Skegness - site of the very first Butlins  holiday camp, opened in 1936.   Part of the reason Billy Butlin chose the site was because Skegness was easily accessed by train from London.     One or two of the group recalled family holidays there, they had a wonderful time, shared lots of happy memories.

We sobered up a little, later. 

My lovely Miss Read (retired village school teacher) confided that she is no longer able to drive, can scarcely see to read, even with magnifiers and lights; she has blind spots and a very limited field of vision.     She will soon be registered blind.

I have a feeling that our little meetings, and the bonds of friendship which have been forged, are going to be even more important to her.   




20 comments:

  1. Village halls are there to be used, was burned down many years ago and the a new one built where is is in constant use. Villages need them and it is up to locals to make sure they are and do not end up closing and being built on like in a labouring village. I'm glad you still use yours

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    1. Hello Billy, Sounds like your hall is fully appreciated! The trouble with this village/hamlet is the lack of people, about 160 including children. These days it seems that most people would rather stay home and watch TV!

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  2. That's sad news about Miss Read, I hope she is still able to come to your monthly meetings.
    My first time at Butlins was in 1977, can't remember much except the very basic bedrooms in two storey rows were miles from the toilets!

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    1. Hi Sue, She has battled on, making adjustments, for a long time now. She knew it was inevitable, but it has still hit her hard. She lives just a short distance from the hall, so we'll make sure that she can attend whenever she wishes - goodness, she is the main reason we have kept this thing going for so long, the glue that binds, and all that!
      Despite the basic rooms and the distance from the toilets I hope you had a brilliant time at Butlins.

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  3. Ohhh... Why did the rail line get closed down? Inquiring minds want to know! I think it would be lovely to have a monthly tea and cake party. Unfortunately these days so many are just too busy to stop and get to know their neighbors. Sad news about Miss Read, do hope she continues to be social.
    Cheers Sheri

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    1. Hello Sheri, If memory serves me right, I think Beeching was a hard headed business man brought in to make the railways more economically viable and efficient. Many miles of the railway network were closed down and now, some 60 years later, there is talk about re-opening them - which, as you can imagine, would be rather more tricky. Part of my daily dog walk is along the old railway line (no tracks remain) which time and nature has now re-stocked with large trees, shrubs and wildlife.
      We will do our best to make sure that Miss Read does not become isolated, don't worry.

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  4. Sad so many of the activities of your hall died away without the support of the generation that founded them. The activity was not at fault; just the support.

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    1. They had some very jolly times, Joanne. One of your tea towels was shown around the table on Monday, (it was my turn to do refreshments, wash up, etc) it was greatly admired and everyone wanted to know a little about you - so if your ears were burning, it was my fault! ;)

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  5. I think village hall usage comes and goes. Caistor is much larger than your village but the villages where I used to be vicar were very similar to yours and at some periods it ws difficult to get a booking and at others hardly anything was happening. I'm glad you still have your "Monthly Mondays" - events like that ae so important.

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    1. Most events seem to get diverted to the pub, but we have managed to hang on to this little gathering, somehow! There are also the Parish Council Meetings, the occasional birthday party booking, and once every so often it is used for voting. It limps along!

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  6. What a pity your gatherings are only those monthly meetings. I hope they continue for a long while yet. With only 160 in the village I can imagine it is hard work to get a reasonable amount of people to attend. No school, no shops, no church but still got a pub... there's life in the village still

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    1. What we need is for a traditional, gregarious, Greek family to move into the village, Linda! This place would wonder what had hit it, but it would be considerably more lively.

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  7. I am really sorry to hear that your village is changing and that hall is not getting the use that it used to. It is hard when you lose things like the school, shop or the church as they are usually at the heart of a community. I do hope that things continue so that Miss Read and others will still feel part of the community.

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    1. We will certainly do our best, sustainablemum! Quite remarkable to think that this village used to have a cobbler, a wheelwright and blacksmith, baker, several shops, post office, butcher, chapel, doctor's surgery, and a good village school, as well as the pub. In the 14 years I have lived here the school and the blacksmith have both gone, the rest went quite some years ago. I often try to visualise how busy it must have been, all the comings and goings.

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  8. Sign of the times sadly that the meetings have dwindled and such a shame to read about Miss Reid, what a struggle she must be having. I did smile about the Butlins talk it brought back so many happy years living so close to it (Chapel St Leonards) and driving past it most days.

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    1. You Probably know this area very well then, we are just a few miles from Alford. Much as I love being back in Lincolnshire there is a corner of my heart which still hankers to go back to living on the island...even though you get so much more weather!

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  9. It’s such a shame your village hall is only used once a month, but good that it is actually used that once a month. It looks like a great place for a good old fashioned children’s birthday party. Lots of room for musical bumps and pass the parcel! But this type of birthday party is rare these days.
    I hope Miss Read still manages to get to the monthly social :)

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    1. The hall is really very small, though I must admit it looks a decent size in the photographs! When we used to hold the village shows it was very cramped, but it was good to see the looking so lively.
      Miss Read only lives a minute or so away from the hall so we will make sure that she has someone to walk with her, she is the cornerstone of the gatherings.

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  10. So sorry to hear of Miss Read's failing sight. I'm sure you and your fellow village stalwarts will be a great comfort to her in her future. x

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    1. We will certainly do our best, she has always done her best for the community and now it is time to make sure that we do the same for her - besides which, I am very fond of her.x

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Lovely to hear from you!