The hub of of village social life for half a Century. This is the story of a building which has become a well known and familiar landmark in Flintshire.
But it is something more than a landmark! Indeed, it can almost be said that it is a building with a soul- the soul of the village and the community which it has served in so many different ways for nearly a half century.
It is the story of the memorial Hall at Newmarket (or Trelawnyd as it is called today).
The story is being told, because it “deserves” to be told. Could there be a better reason for its telling?
And it deserves to be told because its history is a proud record of a place which has been the pivot around which much of the life of this lovely village has been woven in the last half century.
It has housed countless Eisteddfodau at which singers, poets and craftsmen from all parts of North Wales ( and indeed far beyond) have matched their prowess far into the early morning hours; likewise, it has down the years been a famous rendezvous for many famous concerts, dramas, popular dances, Christmas parties and other notable festivals.
It has had its romantic experiences too, for many marriages owe their early beginnings to “first encounters” at the Memorial Hall.
In past years the fees obtained from hiring out the memorial hall to all the diversified events which have taken place there were adequate to maintain the building in good repair and ensure full scale decoration and renovation from time to time. But times have changed and today- although the Memorial Hall is still the recognised social centre of village life-bookings are less frequent than of yore.
The Eisteddfod, for instance is a much rarer event at the Hall than it used to be- not so much because of a waning in popularity as for economic reasons. For a big-scale eisteddfod today the prize money has become a “box office headache”.
For whilst prizes have necessarily been twice or treble their former values in order to give some recompense to the expenses incurred by those competing the walls of the Memorial Hall are too solid and rigid to be pushed out to accommodate bigger audiences and thus there is the almost insurmountable problem of trying to balance eisteddfod income against expenditure. Similarly with celebrity concerts and other such events.
The advent of television, too has had a far reaching economic effect . Entertainment within the home as presented in today’s television programmes has an ever widening influence on social life in villages as well as the towns and cities, and social events which formerly could be depended upon to attract an attendance of several hundreds are today rarely an anxiety and question mark in the minds of those responsible for promoting them!
Nevertheless , without places like the Memorial Hall at Trelawnyd communal social life would disappear completely and the loss would undoubtedly be immeasurable. The Trelawnyd Memorial Hall and all its village contemporary centres must be kept going, and at Trelawnyd there are men and women determined to see this is done.
Fifty Years Ago.
We have looked at the present and peeped into the future. Now let us look back awhile, back to 1908-9 when the site on which this imposing hall now stands was mainly a block of dilapidated cottages.
There was a stir of great expectancy in the village when it became known that Mr A Rali, of Mia Hall, had bought this old property and intended to demolish it and in its place put up a fine new village hall. Mr Rali did not take long in getting the project going, and on November 22 1910, he handed over the Memorial Hall to the Parish Council for safe keeping.
The Hall soon became the venue of a spate of events whci it had never been possible to hold in the village before-eisteddfodau, drama, concerts whist drives, jumble sales.
The in 1914-18, the Hall took on a new significance. British soldiers ( and at one time a number of Belgian refugees) were billeted there, and it became a centre of military activity. In 1920 Mia Hall was sold to Captain Ernest Hoggarth and he and his brother, Mr J R Hoggarth together with Mr Hemelryk of Henryn Hall took a big interest in the Hall and badminton and billiards were added to its amenities, and once again it became a busy centre of social activity.
In the 1930s funds were beginning to get depleted and then came the second world war and once again the Memorial Hall became a useful wartime venue, this time for evacuees, Home Guard and Welcome Home Activities and a steady income started flowing in again.
A Noble Job.
But Father Time was beginning to take toll. There were repairs needed, a heating installation, decoration etc. A practical illustration of the deep attachment which the villagers of Trelawnyd have for their Memorial Hall is the fact that a group of young men immediately came forward and volunteered to paint the exterior of the building if they could be provided with the paint. This the Parish council readily provided and the exterior has been painted no less than three times in recent years by completely voluntary labour in this way. A noble job, well and truly done!
The women of the village too, have played their part in keeping the the hall spick and span. Twice a year, every year they banded together and gave the hall a wholesale scrubbing and cleansing. To all of these the work was a labour of love and efforts represented an enormous saving towards the upkeep of the hall.
Although the management of the Trelawnyd Memorial Hall is vested in the Parish Council, its affairs are largely supervised and cared for by a welfare committee , comprising twelve members. This was first elected at a parish meeting in the spring of 1943 with the primary object of raising funds to defray the cost of installing a new heating apparatus for the building.
From the onset this committee has been extremely fortunate in having Mr JW Jones, Garreg Lwyd, as their energetic Chairman. His services in this and in other capacities were recognised in 1949 when he was awarded the British Empire Medal. The committee’s hon treasurer is Mr J Parry, Delfryn; the secretary Miss B.A.Jones, Bryn Teg; and the auditor Mr I.P Jones, Siop Ganol.
In addition to raising over £1000 for the maintenance of the hall, the committee has also substantially aided other charitable and worthy causes to the extent of almost £500. In recent months their efforts have been directed towards effecting several adjustments to the hall in order to comply with the regulations of the County Fire Service. Throughout its existence the welfare committee has shown an exemplary team spirit and absenteeism at meetings without genuine cause is a rarity!
Last Autumn through the medium of a bumper bazaar, the sum of over £150 was raised towards maintaining and beautifying the memorial Hall. Now the committee are contemplating ways and means of defraying the cost of interior decoration. This entails the erection of scaffolding and much preparatory work and is beyond the scope of voluntary effort however readily forthcoming that may be.
Male Voice Choir.
Right down the years, the Memorial Hall has from time-to-time been the venue of some truly lovely and inspiring singing. Keeping pace today with these traditions of the past and still making the walls of the building resound with the glory of music is the Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir, whose competitive successes, concerts and broadcasts has made them famed throughout the country.
Regulary every week the choir consisting of over sixty men of all ages, who sing for the sheer love of it – rehurse in the memorial Hall and every year, on the Sunday preceding August Bank Holiday, they stage a wonderful concert and give the entire proceeds towards the maintenance and upkeep of the building.
Thus and in so many different ways, is the voluntary spirit exemplified in Trelawnyd. Despite the welfare state and its influence and effect of voluntary service today, there is a big spark of this splendid spirit still burning brightly in Trelawnyd , and as long as this continues, the village need have no fear of losing something which,- as always- it still regards with pride and affection and which still remains the hub of its communal life – the Memorial Hall, presented as a gift to them by a very generous and warm hearted benefactor fifty years ago”
(Excerpt from Prestatyn Journal 1958)