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Unity Hall 1912

Situated at the rear of the High Street Methodist Church, the Unity Hall was built around 1910. No records remain except for that Kelly’s Directory of 1912 records it as a Liberal Club, with William Henry Please as caretaker.

Mr and Mrs Fred Lintern of Wootton stated that it was funded by subscribers who purchased either 6d (2½p) or 1s. (5p) shares.

The hall was used for many years to stage village entertainments. The nearby New Road school performed their annual Christmas shows there for many years. Dances were held there as well as other events, social occasions, concerts and dancing lessons.

A lady dance instructress taught the Lancers, Foxtrot, One-Step, Two-step, Waltz, Charleston, also the Paul Jones and a lovely Tango like dance called the Florentine Waltz with intricate steps.

One evening a couple of men a little worse for drink, entered and with the dance band playing, did a dance called, “The six penny hop.”

It became a club from 1930 onwards with billiards tables etc. Mrs Cheverton remembers wheeling an old pram with a record player on down to the hall for a social event in 1947. It was also used as a cinema with some fittings and a ticket office remaining until the hall was demolished.

Up to 1999 it was owned by Don Young of Fishbourne and used for a portion of time to build boats. The Radio Club met in a side room.

The Hall and land was sold off and two executive houses built on the site.

Picture of Unity Hall 2005
Unity Hall 2005

Offical Opening 28th November 1912

The new Liberal Hall in Mill Square, Wootton was officially opened on 28th November 1912, the ceremony being presided over by Mr. Leslie Chatfeild-Clarke who was accompanied by his wife. There was a large gathering of guests and these included Mr. Edger Chatfeild-Clarke J.P. C.C., Mrs Russell Cooke, Mr Scarmanga Ralli, Mr Stanley Chatfeild-Clarke and Col. Guild. In his opening address the chairman thanked Mr Ralli for coming down from London has he had been very generous in his support and was one of the biggest shareholders in the company.

Mrs Please also presented Mr Ralli with a handsome silver gilt key of the new building designed by Mr T.M.Taylor of Cowes, in accepting the gift Mr Ralli said it would be prominently displayed in his London home. Sir Godfrey Baring joined in the discussion and said that he would not like to be left out of anything that went on in Wootton. The chairman then thanked the many friends around the neighbourhood who had been involved in the erection of the building. He also thanked Mr W.H.Please of Wootton, the builder for his excellent work, and the building committee who had spent many nights working on the details. Thanks were also given to the management committee who had taken over the running of the building. Mr Ralli them formally declared the new building open and hoped it would stand for many years as an emblem of their ideals.

Tea was served by the ladies and there followed a pleasant social evening, which was enjoyed by all.

Source: Isle of Wight County Press, 30th November 1912

This page was last edited on: 26th January, 2022 17:50:50

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