Come and see the new-look Coronation Hall
– Saturday 22 August 10-12.30 & 2-4
The pandemic has of course been both worrying and disruptive, and nothing can detract from its serious and damaging effects – however at the Hall we have made use of these unique circumstances as an opportunity to do great things (although the full scope of the work we want to do is not finished).
We are very proud of what has been achieved so far and we’d like to invite you to come and see the revamped main Hall on Saturday 22 August. We will still need to maintain social distancing and so we have organised it as ‘drop in’ day with various elements to make sure we all remain safe (appropriate limits on numbers at any one time, a one-way system, thorough cleansing, hand gel etc).
There will be a morning session 10-12.30 and an afternoon session 2-4.
Three different elements combined to create a unique opportunity during lockdown – an opportunity never available to the Trustees before;
- The Hall was forced to close – so we had the chance to do things that would normally be far too disruptive of the regular Hall activity. We had a window of opportunity.
- Key members of the team found themselves in lockdown and with the time (and commitment) to devote to the Hall. We had a work force!
- We received a Coronavirus compensation grant and some generous local donations. We had some money!
The Trustees decided to seize this triple-faceted opportunity, be bold and ‘up the game’ of the Hall.
The upshot is that the main body of the Hall has been transformed.
(There is still work to do in other areas).
People who have seen it have been amazed – so do come and have a look. We hope you like what we have done with your Hall. We have achieved a great deal albeit there is more to be done (and we hope you may be able to help with some of that – more details at the end of this article).
What we have done?
All Halls were forced to close on 23 March, and cancel all bookings and planned activities.
(And at the time of writing, virtually all normal activities are still not permitted).
We thought carefully about this and whilst we knew we couldn’t do everything, we decided to focus on work that would normally be impossible or too disruptive to do whilst the Hall was in use.
So, we decided to re-decorate the main Hall – along with associated improvements, and have the floor fully and professionally renovated.
(As such, the planned refit of the toilets was put on hold. We still want to do but that, and other works, can be fitted around bookings at a later stage, unlike the redecoration of the main Hall and floor work).
In doing the preparation, Martin Moss was able to confirm his long-held suspicion that a major original architectural feature lay hidden behind 1960’s plasterboard. We have now reinstated and restored that feature – I won’t tell you any more as I’d like it to be a surprise.
A new lighting system has been installed – thanks to the generosity of an anonymous benefactor whose company designed, supplied and installed the new lights.
New curtains complete the look. (But new stage curtains elude us at the moment).
In addition, we undertook a lot of work ‘behind the scenes’ which go a long way to ‘future proof’ the Hall. Over the 80+ years the Hall has been in use, lots of alterations and repairs have been done in a sensible but inevitably piece-meal way. We have taken the opportunity to do a major tidy-up of the electrics, and created a safer modern system that is more easily adaptable to any changes we may want to make in the future.
Another ‘feature’ that was a hangover from the history of the Hall was asbestos lining to the projection room. This was not actually dangerous – provided it was never damaged – but it has long been a source of some concern and frequent discussion. It also complicated access to works on the building.
We had it professionally removed and disposed of, and thus we need never worry about it or debate it again.
Lastly ‘behind the scenes’, we have had some woodworm treated. You would not believe how bad this was in places (users of the Gents – just be thankful none of you, and the pan, never fell through the floor!).
Martin Moss, Robert and Carol Parfey and Gareth Williams did all the work (aside from professional & certified aspects of the electrics, the floor & woodworm).
They all had plans, work, holidays etc scheduled for the summer – all of which had to be cancelled, and instead they devoted their time working at the Hall. (The size and ‘closed’ nature of the building meant they could work safely within Coronavirus regulations. However, concern over your safety and protection from the virus also meant we had to restrict access to the Hall, so apologies if you feel the Hall has been ‘out of bounds’ whilst the work was taking place).
I am in awe of the amount of effort the team put into it, and I am very proud of what they have achieved.
It is impossible to overstate the importance and generosity of their contribution – without it, we could not have contemplated doing the work. They have made our budget go so much further.
More opportunities and a request for your help….
As I said, the budget has a gone a LONG way and we have achieved much more than we could have imagined. But inevitably, there are quite a number of additional items we would like to complement the job.
We have a sort of ‘wedding present’ list for the Hall and we hope you might be able to help by funding a ‘gift’ for the Hall. This list will be available at the Hall on 22 August, or contact me for details. (814777 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
The main items we are hoping you can help with are new chairs, better outside lighting, replacement of some of the stage items, etc. (and more besides).
In addition to the specific budget for this project we have temporarily and prudently dipped into other pots of money to source some vital items (such as the new curtaining for the windows and other items) and it would be good to find kind souls willing to fund those and enable us to refill those pots of money.When you come along on 22 August we will explain all!
Chairman of Trustees, Coronation Hall