Following the Great War, a Committee was established to construct a Meeting Room on land in Pennys Lane. The building when finished, became the first Village Hall to serve Margaretting and was known locally and probably with a fair degree of accuracy as ‘The Hut’. It was of timber and corrugated iron construction and is thought to have consisted of former war time Nissan huts. When finally the building had been constructed, it was decided on the 11th May 1921 at a meeting chaired by Rev W J Pressey that a new committee of management be set up and the Village Hall committee then established has continued ever since. Although there are financial records from that date, we only have committee minutes from January 1934. Also, it appears that the village did not own the land on which the hall stood and did not do so until:-
On the 9th October 1928, Owen Parry of Tunbridge Wells but formerly a resident at Ivy Hill, Margaretting, conveyed by way of gift the site in Pennys Lane in trust to the people of Margaretting. Trustees were appointed from the village and were given complete discretion in regard to the future use of the site and thus were able later to sell it to assist in the funding of the present building.
In 1938 Col. Edward James Upton of Coptfold Hall bequeathed the site of the present Recreation Ground (then known as the Cricket Field) to trustees to be held by them “upon condition that it should not be built upon or used for any commercial purposes but should be used as a cricket field sports and recreation ground for the benefit of the inhabitants of Margaretting…”
In 1969 the site of the original Village Hall in Pennys Lane (on what is now the site of Tanners) was sold for redevelopment and on the 24th July 1969 a new scheme of management was created and the Recreation Ground and Village Hall Trust in its present form came into being.
The £3,950 proceeds from the sale of the Pennys Lane site provided the core funds for the present Village Hall. The project was the brain child of Gwen Armstrong, the then Parish Council chairman. Of the total cost of £10,960, approximately one third was raised locally by covenanted payments over a five year period and the balance was by way of grants.
The Hall, designed by local architects Alec and Joan Burnett comprised the present main hall plus a flat roofed wing comprising a foyer, a kitchen, ladies and gents toilets and a small store. The building was approached by a gravel driveway leading to a small car parking area and the soil stripped from the site was heaped nearby. The original sports pavilion was removed to the other corner of the field – later dismantled and sold when the new pavilion was constructed. The hall was completed and made available for use in 1970
The construction of the A12 bypass in 1971, enabled an area of the playing field at the far corner and the end of Pennys Lane to be acquired. The Ministry, at their expense, re-sited the pavilion and a complete re-planning of the playing areas including a new cricket square and drainage to the outfield.
In 1981 the sports wing and annexe were added to the hall in replacement of the old sub-standard timber framed and felted pavilion. At the same time the kitchen to the main hall was extended. Total cost £39,665 which was raised locally and again through a number of grants.
1986 saw the stage units fixed in situ to form a base for the permanent stage construction in the Main Hall.
The provision of two further changing rooms was funded by the Sports Club and which also included the Club Room to be enlarged.
In 1999, Ridley’s award for best Village Appraisal was used to purchase a new electric cooker, P A System and materials for display boards made by Graham Ansell.
The Millennium meeting room extension was completed in 2000 and in April 2003, a V-Festival grant of £5,000 was used in Chelmer Room and bar refurbishment.
The Village Hall Committee continue to annually review the condition of the Hall and since the Millennium a number of donations and grants have been forthcoming to assist in renovations and upgrades. Complete redecoration was carried out in 2013.
In 2014 the Parish Council Office was added and opened adjacent to the kitchen. A monthly Parish Council Surgery is held in the office on the third Saturday of each month. The gent’s toilets in the Main Hall have also been re-furbished.
2015 saw cricket return to the playing field with Galleywood Cricket Club taking over maintenance of the square as a home for their 3rd team. The square had received no care since Margaretting Cricket Club had disbanded in 2012 and the preparation work to restore the square has been carried out diligently.