History of the Hall

A tribute to the people of Meavy

In Devonshire near Darty-moor, There is a place called Meavy, And if you say there's better ones, Well no-one would believe 'ee.

And in this place of friendly souls, We meet in this October, To celebrate a great event, For the struggle's nearly over.

In the year of 1921, The Meavy folks decided To hold a Fete to raise some funds, For a Parish Hall was needed.

The V.D.S. had just been formed So the Players got together, And performed a play in the Millers field, The "Crock of Gold" was to be the yield.

With Stalls and Play and merryment, It was a great success, And many a pound was raised that day To put within the chest.

And then in 1922 The news had got around That the Village School was out of date, And a new one must be found.

So the Meavy folks did drop their dream, Of a brand new Parish Hall, And helped to build a nice new school For the benefit of all.

The years rolled on and people worked With help from near and far, And Whist Drives, Dances, Plays and Fetes All made the funds go higher.

And then another bomb was dropped, The Rectory was condemned, And to their dreams of a brand new Hall It really seemed the end.

But no! they bravely plodded on And worked with might and main, Until at last that too was built, To everybody's gain.

And then the war years intervened, And everyone was working To help to fight, the cause of right, For in Meavy there was no shirking.

Then came the day when they could start, To make their dream come true, And so they organised Oak Fairs And held Gymkhanas too.

And now the day has really come, Their dreams at last come true, They've got their brand new Parish Hall, Here's thanks to them and you.

And so they hope within this Hall Much friendliness be found, And peace and love and happiness, Within its walls abound.

E. M. Bowden 1956

Meavy Parish Hall was originally the site of Meavy Primary School.  In 1928 the school moved to a new building and the old school was converted into a village hall.  In 1956 the hall was rebuilt at a cost of £4200. The car park at the rear was added in 1959 and resurfaced in 1979.  The new hall was opened on 1st October 1956 by Mrs R R Brown, prayers said by the rector, and Ethel Bowden, on her 65th birthday recited a poem she had written especially for the occasion.

Candlelight was the only light for all activities and dramas until 1936 when electricity came to the village.

Meavy Parish Hall


50 Years On

An article written for the Winter 2006 edition of the Burrator Beacon by Jenny Sharp

In the Parish Hall at Meavy is a plaque which reads:

“This Hall was rebuilt by parishioners and friends under the chairmanship of Mr R R Brown to commemorate with gratitude all those Men and Women of Meavy Parish who, both in the Services and in Civil life, served their Country in the World War 1939 – 1945.  It was opened on October 1st 1956”

I was looking at this plaque one evening during a Parish Hall Committee Meeting and realised that we were approaching the 50th Anniversary of the Hall as it now stands.  “We ought to do something” was my first thought and so the Hall organised an event to bring together present and past users of the Hall and to share memories from the past 50 years.  Photographs of events in the Hall and in Meavy were collected and many were scanned in to produce a slide show, Ken Eastel had scrap books of newspaper cuttings going back a long way and lots of people bought their memories.  At the original opening of the Hall in 1956 Ethel Bowden read a poem that she had written specially for the occasion.  Fifty years on Joyce Williams performed the honours and the poem was once more recited. (see panel on right)

A number of things came from the evening.  The first was that it is important for us to capture our history.  There were many photographs of people and events that names or dates could not be put to accurately, my next task is to sit down with those in the Parish who can remember, to go through the photographs and record who is who and what is what.  This way we can keep the history of Meavy alive.  If there are people who could not get to the evening and would like to see the photographs or have other pictures then please get in touch with me.  We must also remember that history is being made all the time, the photographs must still be taken and more importantly annotated so that in 50 years time we are not asking “when was that” or “who is that”!  

The second thing that came to me following that evening was how applicable the poem was still today.  Meavy now has its Hall but it does not keep itself and repairs and renovations are needed to bring it into the 21st century.  Over the last few years, the Hall has undergone internal redecoration and replaced the doors and fire exits bringing them up to date with new legislation.  The “Whist Drives, Dances and Fetes” still continue and new initiatives such as the biannual quiz all help to raise funds for such work as well as grants from the Parish and Borough Councils.  Over the last six months the Hall has totally refurbished the kitchen and this has shown how the Hall and all its users pull together for a good cause.

The Hall has managed to raise over £2000 itself and with generous donations from users of the Hall such as Meavy Friendship Group, Meavy Oak Fair, the Garden Society, Meavy Mums and Toddlers and Meavy & Sheepstor WI we now have a brand new kitchen facility.  The work was done mainly by Hall Committee members Ken Eastel and John Smith who have put in a lot of time and effort but there have been others ‘from near and far’ who have given their time and expertise freely and willingly to help us get it finished.  The Meavy community of 1921 who had the vision for the Parish Hall is still going strong and we are pleased with, and proud of our Hall.  The final work that is needed on the Hall is to replace the windows – they have done well since 1956 but have reached the end of their life.  We are currently fundraising and applying for grants for this work.

If all our Halls are to continue to be places where “much friendliness be found and peace and love and happiness within its walls abound” then the whole community needs to pull together to make it happen and then make sure that the Hall is used.  I am glad to say this is very much in evidence in Meavy.