The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


The concept for a Church Hall dates back to a public meeting in 1868 called in recognition of a pressing need for St Georges to provide accommodation for the growing number of Sunday school children. Southwick Park made a free gift of a acre of land adjoining the Church. The school, with 140 tidy and smiling children opened in March 1869 with an all day celebration. The building was described as a simple structure 40ft x 12ft.

In September 1911 an ominous report in the magazine stated that the schoolroom was ‘in a stage of decrepitude’, which required immediate attention. It was estimated 400 would be needed with only 80 in hand. An appeal was made and in March 1913 the fund had reached 300. Mrs C Martin added a further 100 at the Vestry meeting in April. As a result a decision was taken to build a new schoolroom rather than undertake expensive repairs. By July an architect had been appointed with Edwards awarded the building contract at 970 with 630 in hand and the foundation stone laid in the same month. The room size was 60ft x 30ft with two 16ft x 14ft classrooms either side of a platform 20ft x 12ft for entertainment. A kitchen was provided at the back.

The hall was formally opened on 6th November 1913. No specific mention is available to say how the hall was used during WWI.

The Rev Jones was appointed Vicar in 1929 and was married on June 25th at St George’s in a grand wedding with 300 guests attending the reception held in the Church Hall.

On 5th January 1931 the Church’s centenary celebration was marked with a social in the Hall. In July 1933, Eric Jackson installed electricity in the church hall for under 11. The family firm, 80 years older still looks after our electrical installation and repair needs.

From oral history, it is known Portsmouth citizens used the hall during WW2 as a dormitory to escape the bombing. Many young brownies, guides and scouts took to the stage for entertainment  retaining a fond memory.

In 1958, the County Library Service used the hall, and florescent lighting was introduced at a cost of 83.

On Monday, 30 December 1968 old pews from the Church were set up in the Hall. An altar was assembled from tables, and everything prepared for a temporary church.

The newly purchased hut from Bramshot, placed on the grass behind, now became the temporary church hall. The rehallowing of the new church subsequently took place on 3 April 1970 and the church hall reverted to its intended role.

In 1982, the Rev Malcolm Ferrier became the incumbent. Doug Shepherd, was both churchwarden and hall manager alongside his wife, Joan. At that time, if a hall was shown to be profitable, the asset could impact on quota, so little attempt was made for it to be self-financing. Fr. Malcolm thought otherwise in 1984 and charged the hall committee to canvass bookings. This perhaps drew attention to an assessment of the facilities on offer, which was far from attractive, especially the rear kitchen, much vaunted in the reporter’s review of the hall during the opening ceremony in 1913.

In due course, a refurbishment and remodelling of the hall took place with plans prepared by the architect Derek Webster to include a new kitchen to be located between two existing buttresses. After a church service at which Bishop Timothy officiated, he cut the first turf and blessed the project.

The opening ceremony took place in the autumn of 1987. At one stage during the build, the team stood in the completed shell of the new kitchen, grateful for what had been achieved, until a bombshell hit them, when it was realised no kitchen units whatsoever had been budgeted. Burrows, later Jewsons were very understanding and provided a favourable deal even recommending a fitter to carry out the installation. Doug was to die in office in the spring of the following year. Management of the hall passed to Andrew Clark, who at the time was a churchwarden and church treasurer and had worked closely with Doug during the build.

Retiring from the hall management in 2006, Andrew wrote: Landmarks have been the new kitchen, reordering of the toilets, replacement hall wooden floor and the updating of other floor coverings. Wall heaters replaced and the boiler in the kitchen. Entrance doors were replaced, emergency lighting installed and provision made for Disabled Access and toilet facilities. The former oil storage unit became redundant when the Church heating was converted to gas. The tank was removed and the space modified to create additional storage.

Annual accounts over the period have been supported by a written account – here is an extract from 2005: Repairs are somewhat of a ‘dustbin’ category that includes a former one called Hall Development. The 300 percent increase is accounted for by the purchase of a new gas cooker and its installation costs, new cupboards, replacement floor covering in the area of the toilets and entrance hall and the painting undertaken one weekend by a band of worthy volunteers, a task much appreciated. Professional repairs included attention to gullies and replacement of ridge tiles on the two hip roofs at the back of the hall; security lighting was also updated with new elements. There has been one case of vandalised windows in the front porch.

His successors have continued to manage with a fresh outlook leading to the re-opening celebration of a greatly enhanced hall, in the presence of the Mayor of Havant, on 17 February 2013.

from notes provided by Andrew Clark

Source: John Symonds’ booklet, the Old St George’s is a remarkable asset in providing most of the text and dates for these jottings and his diligence in harvesting them should not only be thanked but also saluted.

Easter Edition 2013

100th Anniversary of St George’s Church Hall

This stone shield is at the apex of the roof facing Edwards, the builder. Note the wording St George’s Sunday School  Church Hall 1913

Foundation Stone

16 July 1913