This book, which is a record of village events, is now 90 years old, and was started on Mon August 28th 1922. The following is just a few of the entries which perhaps gives a flavour of village life
On August 28th 1922 a public meeting was held , the purpose of which was to make arrangements for the management of the Hall and “its proper carrying on”.
The Rev. Arthur Temperley was elected chairman of the meeting and he proposed the following resolution –
“That this meeting of the parishioners of South Willingham desires to express their sincere sorrow at the death of the late Lord Heneage, and their sympathy with Lady Heneage and the family and also to record their deep gratitude to his Lordship for his generous gift of the Parish hall.”
The following people were appointed to carry out the above mentioned objects.
Messrs W G Pickering, , G L Johnson, H Pickering, A Rogers, F Firth, C Hunt, E Ingray, A White, M Plumtree and G Freeborough.
Miss P Temperley, Miss Johnson, Mrs Tharratt, Mrs Rogers, Mrs H Pickering, Mrs Greaves, Mrs Plumtree and Miss E Pickering.
Four Trustees of the buildings, namely Lord Heneage, Mr E Harrison, Mr G Houghton and Rev. Temperley being ex-officio members of the committee.
Resolutions passed –
1) That the committee is charged with the duty of drawing up rules for the management of the Hall and have powers to act generally.
2) That the committee have powers to add to their number.
3) That the committee hold office until the end of June 1923.
(Signed Arthur Temperley)
The very first meeting of the general committee was held on August 30th 1922 at which the treasurer was requested to insure the buildings against fire with the Royal Insurance Company without delay.
Also a sub committee was appointed to draw up the rules for the Constitution of the Institute and to arrange for the purchase of the necessary furniture.
On September 27th 1922 it was proposed that the first caretaker, Mrs Fred Bett, was appointed at a payment of 6d per hour. Also that Miss Temperley be requested to buy two 100 candle power lamps – one wall lamp and one outside lamp. Also six sets of crockery.
Over the ensuing months and years regular committee meetings were held. The first garden fete is recorded as being held on June 30th 1923, although this seemed to depend on whether “the Horncastle Brass Band can be engaged for that date”. It was also decided to hold an afternoon whist drive (the first of many) with Mr Gourley and Mr Tharratt undertaking to manage same.
In Oct 1923 the accounts for the year were presented, which included a balance of £170.7.6d plus £74.18.8d which was raised during the year making a total of £245.6.2d. After various payments were made the sum of £9.7.6d was left to begin the new session. It was stated that the cost of the Hall, along with the out-buildings was £224.12.9d.
A “fine” portrait of the late Lord Heneage was presented to the institute by Mr Wilkinson of Hainton, the chairman being requested to make a “suitable carved frame” for the portrait: he consented to “do his best”. It was decided that it should be hung in the hall.
March 1924 saw the gift of a billiard table, kindly donated by Lady Heneage for use in the hall. A letter of thanks to Lady Heneage was sent from Rev. Temperley. The charge per game would be 2d and the time allowed half an hour.
May 24th saw the years accounts being presented which was considered very satisfactory, a sum of £12 to be paid to the guarantors. It was unanimously decided to hold a garden fete in the Rectory grounds by kind permission of Rev Temperley on June 21st.
September 1924 saw the first mention of Mr Greenwood, blacksmith, , when he proposed that three shillings be the charge for the session and two pence per evening for new members.
May 1925 saw the accounts being presented for the past session. This showed a balance of £17.4.8d which was considered very satisfactory. Mr J Hunt to be asked to carry out the painting of the hall exterior.
The garden fete was obviously a success as at the July 24th meeting the first business discussed was what should be done with the surplus money from the fete – it was decided, after some discussion, that it should be kept for the church.
On September 22nd a meeting of a newly formed Committee was held , the first business being the election of the officers and caretaker for the coming year. Mrs Bett was appointed caretaker “at the same salary as last year – £8“. At the next meeting a whist drive was decided on for Oct 13th at a charge of one shilling and three pence including refreshments. Also, a fancy dress dance should take place during Christmas week. Charges for letting the parish hall to outside parties was discussed, it being decided to charge ten shillings for a whist drive, fifteen shillings for whist drive and dance and 15 shillings for dance only. Another whist drive to be held Dec 21st, price one shilling including refreshments.
It seems from a meeting held April 20th 1926 the question of whether to keep the hall open during the summer months was raised, as “there seemed many difficulties in the way”. Decision was made to close during summer months.
What were called “long night dances” were proposed – these taking place between 8pm to one in the morning. And in fact on Dec 31st 1926 the dance was from 8 until 2 in the morning! On this occasion Mr Robinson was given permission to purchase a new drum for the jazz set. In between there were whist drives, lectures, etc. So there was no lack of entertainment.
A sad event was recorded at the meeting of February 21st 1927. It was the news of the death of Canon A Temperley, the secretary being requested by the committee to write a letter of sympathy to Miss Temperley and that a wreath be purchased and sent.
The next major happening was when, on the evening of Oct 30th 1939 it was decided “not to open the Parish Hall on account of war conditions”. The next meeting would not take place until November 8th 1943.