It may well have been the building of the Memorial Hall in Winchmore Hill that prompted the villagers into wanting a hall of their own. From the diary notes kept by Alice Timms in November 1923 we have an entry which shows how the matter was progressing.
“There is a movement on foot to set up a Village Hall in Penn Street and Lord Howe has most kindly offered us a site for this purpose on the edge of the wood adjoining the green. The hall will thus be available for use as a cricket pavilion in the summer as well as a clubroom and place for entertainments and meetings in the winter. Steps are being taken to obtain an Army Hut and we hope shortly to come to some definite decision and lay the proposal before a general meeting”.
Alice was meticulous with the detail in her record keeping and the description of the proposed site would suggest a different location to the one we now have. The ordnance maps of the time show that the plot of land now occupied by the hall and Two Gates was in fact within the curtilage of Forge House.
We know from her records that the villagers needed to raise the necessary funds:
February 1924: “A wonderful entertainment organised entirely by children was given in the Penn Street School. On December 28th and 29th the performers were O & K Stevens, V & F Smith, M & C Hearne, A & E Hatt and G Nieles and Miss G Hearne played the piano. There were seven little plays given besides recitations, pianoforte duets and solos and dances. There was a crowded audience on the first night and quite a good one on the second and the result enriched the funds for the Village Hall by no less than £7. Great praise is due to the enterprise of our young friends and their promising abilities lead us to expect great things from them when the Village Hall is actually built”.
The fundraising continued and on the 26th June 1926 a Village Fete was held at Penn House. The programme lists country dancing, recitations and sport amongst the afternoon’s activities with dancing on the lawn to the Crotchets Jazz Band.
We have no record as to when the hall was built but in January 1929 a deed was completed for the site. The conveyance between The Right Honourable Richard George Penn Earl Howe, Guardian Assurance Company Limited, Reverend Ernest Montague Davies and Alfred Hearne released and extinguished the land from mortgage and was to be held in Trust in perpetuity under the name of Penn Street Village Hall.
The hall burnt down on the 30th July 1948. During WW2 the hall had played an important role in entertaining the troops with concerts and dances.
And so for the second time funds needed to be sourced for a replacement hall. In 1953 after obtaining planning consent the villagers acquired an ex MOD hut at a cost of £4000 which Lady Curzon opened on the 24th October. In 1955 a small kitchen extension was added and in 1982 a further extension was built to provide improved toilets and showers for the cricket club.