The Friends of Hylands House

Registered Charity No 1059969

Lady Gooch opens Writtle Village Hall (1908)
' The Attwood Fund was a sum given by one of Sir Daniel Gooch’s predecessors at Hylands more than 60 years ago, as to put it in plain English, a bribe not to oppose the closing of a road though Hylands '
Wednesday saw the full realisation of the scheme for a village hall for Writtle. Long has the need for such a building been felt, and after some contention, it was decided to apply for about half of the Attwood Fund for this purpose. The building has been completed, and on Wednesday Lady Gooch, who has been a liberal supporter of the fund, gracefully performed the opening ceremony in the presence of a large gathering. Her Ladyship was accompanied by Sir Daniel Gooch and a number of personal friends.
From the Essex Newsman of 19th December 1908
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The Hall is built principally of red brick, with patent pantile roof, and floor of wood blocks. It is 52ft. long and 25ft. wide. It will seat from 250 to 300 persons. At one end there is a stage, with dressing or committee rooms on either side. The hall can be divided by a folding partition, so that one part can be used for games, etc. and the other as a reading room. It will also be used for concerts, meetings, etc. Mr R. Mawhood was the architect and Messrs. F. Moss and Sons were the builders.
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Canon Papillon, in introducing Lady Gooch, said that it gave him very great pleasure, as vicar of the parish, to take part in the inauguration of such a building as that, and he hoped it might be of great good. It was a thing he had always wished to see. He hoped all would join in making it a great success. [Hear, hear.]
The Attwood Fund was a sum given by one of Sir Daniel Gooch’s predecessors at Hylands more than 60 years ago, as to put it in plain English, a bribe not to oppose the closing of a road though Hylands. The money was given for the parish. All these years the parish had not been able to make up its mind how to utilise it. Now it had made up its mind, and he thought this was one of the best uses the money could be put to.
The site for the Hall cost £150; the building £662 18s 6d; seats and furniture £41 14s; side fence, paths, etc. £22 4s 2d; architect £36 10s; and Charity Commissioners £3 3s; making a total of £916 9s 8d. They had received £632 19s 6d from the Attwood Fund and £247 1s in subscriptions, leaving still to be provided £36 7s 10d. It was hoped that the entertainments of that afternoon and evening would largely contribute to the reduction of the debt.
The Canon then asked Lady Gooch to accept a silver key as a memento of the occasion, and with which he hoped her Ladyship would now unlock the door and declare the Hall open. [Applause.]
The key was placed in the lock of the front door, and Lady Gooch turned the key and opened the door, saying “I have much pleasure in declaring the Hall open. I hear the thing has been badly wanted, and now you have got it. I hope it will be supported by everybody.” [Loud applause.]
Mr A. P. Lindsell, on behalf of the parishioners and the committee, presented Lady Gooch with a choice bouquet of flowers, remarking that, though the flowers might fade, the perfume of her Ladyship’s good acts would remain. [Applause.]
After the opening ceremony an enjoyable entertainment was given. Fully 300 persons were present in the evening, when Mr. C. Russell presided and congratulated them on the acquisition of such a building. Mr Lindsell thanked those who had so well entertained them, and mentioned those who had come forward with subscriptions. They were also greatly indebted to Sir Daniel and Lady Gooch. Sir Daniel had not only contributed to their building fund, but sent flowers to ornament the Hall and shrubs for the garden outside. In fact, Sir Daniel only left off giving when they stopped asking. [Applause.]
Sir Daniel Gooch said it was a great pleasure to Lady Gooch and himself to have assisted in obtaining the Village Hall. He wished it every success. Both Lady Gooch and he would always feel pleased to help in any way for the good of the village.