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Officers Mess or Village Hall?

DRINKSTONE VILLAGE HALL IS ON THE MOVE - Relocation not demolition for rare historic building!

A ninety-year-old relic from the First World War, which was originally an officers mess hut at Great Ashfield Airfield and has served as the Drinkstone Village Hall in Suffolk since 1924, is being moved, lock, stock and barrel, to a new home at a museum and wildlife centre on the former First World War aerodrome at Stow Maries in Essex.

Plans are well progressed to build a brand new hall for Drinkstone on the site, meaning the old building would fall redundant. The dilemma was what to do with the old hall, which still has potential for continued useful life elsewhere and has a heritage value as a rare survivor from the First World War.

A potentially catastrophic fire at the hall, caused by an electrical fault in September 2010, damaged the front end of the hall and prematurely brought it’s working life to an abrupt halt. Up to that point the hall had been well used by the local community, almost on a daily basis.

In the search for a new home for the hall, enquiries were addressed to various aviation museums and enthusiasts across southern England. The Stow Maries Aerodrome Museum expressed an interest in re-erecting the building at their site for use as offices, an education centre and lecture room.

Dismantling the hall is due to begin on Wednesday 6th April and the component parts are provisionally due to be moved to their home during the week beginning 18th April. The hall’s dimensions are: length 71 feet; width 29 feet. It was constructed in 7 separate bays, each one approximately 10 feet wide.

The move will echo the events of  87 years ago when the hall was moved in sections from Great Ashfield to its present site by horse and cart.

Article posted: 05/04/2011

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