Here are some extracts from the minutes of the Village Hall committee since the 1950s.  Click here for the history of the Village Hall.

The Village Hall piano (1958-1960)

The July 1958 meeting was a special meeting called because villager Leslie Jones had sent a letter to the committee asking for permission to run a series of dances throughout the summer months for the purpose of buying a piano for the hall. There was a unanimous decision to give permission and that the committee should take charge of any monies taken at the dances.

Mr Jones passed £16 towards to the committee for the piano fund in September and the committee agreed that members should keep a look out for a suitable piano.

A piano must have been purchased because at the AGM held on 25 September 1959 the Chairman, Dorothy Ackland Allen reported that the piano “is in such a state that it is now impossible to use”. Mr David proposed that “an estimate be obtained from the tuner who inspected it and that the secretary contacts him as soon as possible”.

An emergency meeting was scheduled for 2 October to decide a course of action.  At this meeting it was reported that Victor Feed had given an estimate of 6 guineas for replacing the strings and adjusting the action, together with tuning the piano, making it clear that the repairs would be of a temporary nature. The piano would be uneconomic and the piano was pronounced “a dead loss”. After further discussion the secretary was instructed to place an advert in the South Wales Echo “VIZ WANTED. SECOND HAND PIANO FOR COUNTRY VILLAGE HALL, BOX NO:”. The Chairman and secretary were given the power to pursue any action necessary regarding the purchase of a piano.

At the meeting held on 15 October 1959 it was reported that the secretary was empowered to continue in search of a piano, and Mr G Clay offered to collect the said piano when purchased.

A new piano was purchased but at the meeting held on 22 February 1960 it transpired that a complaint had been made that the new piano was out of tune, and some of its notes sticking. It was decided that the piano should be removed to the opposite end of the hall nearer the fire.
There is no further mention of the piano following this note in the minutes so it can only be assumed that there was an improvement after it was moved closer to the fire and that it continued to contribute to the village's entertainment programme.

St Hilary Village Hall Toilets

In the minutes from the meeting held on 22 February 1960 Mrs M Jenkins complained that men used the hall lavatory. It was decided that it should be used by ladies only.

The question of having new lavatory accommodation in the hall was discussed. The only available location for a cesspit being Mr Griffiths' Little Hall Cottage garden.  Mr Lasseter proposed that the trustees meet Mr Griffiths for discussion of the matter. The trustees agreed to do this.  Mr J.C Clay offered a substantial contribution to the cost of the improvement in the event of the trustees gaining MR Griffiths consent. Mr Alan Thomas offered to prepare a plan and apply to the R.D.C for planning permission.

At a meeting held on 6 December 1961 it was revealed that Mr Griffiths New Hall Cottage had given consent for the proposed cesspit to be located on his property. The RDC approved the plan submitted by Mr Alan Thomas who gave prices (£340/£446) received from tenders.  Mr Gwyn Davies suggested further tenders should be sought, and it was agreed that Mr Glyn Oakley should be asked to submit one.  After lengthy discussion it was decided that the plan should retain the lavatories and sink. It was agreed that the subject should be discussed further when additional tenders were received.  Mr Gwyn Davies questioned the necessity of having both a ladies and a gentleman’s lavatory. This was discussed and Mr Clay proposed that the original scheme be adhered to, and this was agreed unanimously. Mr Griffiths approved the plans.

In February 1961 the water board were investigating the question of water supply to the hall.  After discussion it was decided that the water be taken from the water pipe at Manor Cottage (Mrs Jenkins) instead of from the location near the council’s houses, providing this location was the cheaper. The committee acknowledged responsibility for maintenance of the pipe.  Mr Clay proposed and Mr David seconded that Mr Alan Thomas proceed with the scheme provided it did not exceed £260. In the reduced scheme it was decided to keep the 2 WCs and the sink.

At a subsequent meeting on 8 April 1961 the installation of lavatories and sink was approved following a tender from David and George.  Mrs Jenkins suggested that new linoleum for the kitchen and lavatories be purchased and plastic covering for the kitchen table, together with a refuse bin, mop, cleaning materials and electric light bulbs. The committee agreed.

St Hilary Village Hall Entertainment

The piano at the village hall was obviously a focal point for much of the village hall entertainment but there were also many other activities that took place between the fifties and early eighties, a number of which raised funds for the refurbishment of the hall.

There was a youth club in the late 1950’s run by Mrs A Jenkins and permission was given for the club to hold dances. The youth club gave donations towards hall funds.

A Christmas party was held for village children and OAPs in 1958. The ladies of the committee organised food and the gentlemen arranged entertainment. It was agreed that 25 mugs be given to the children as a souvenirs of the Festival of Wales.

A jumble sale was held on 5 November 1958 to raise funds for the hall.

Whist drives were always a popular activity. In 1962 a whist drive was planned (tickets 2s/6d each). Prizes were donated and each member of the committee gave an item of grocery to fill a grocery box for raffling. Mr Lasster agreed to MC, Mr Gwyn Davies was doorman and the ladies of the committee arranged refreshments. Whist drives continued to be popular; at a meeting in 1974 a series of whist drives to run throughout the season was proposed.

In December 1961 a coffee evening was suggested to raise funds for the hall. The ladies were tasked with providing food and coffee and gentlemen were put in charge of the raffle. The event raised
£17-12s-6d and a further coffee evening was organised for May that year. The charge for coffee was 2/6. Mr Ralph Thomas and Mr Lucas offered milk, Mrs G Davies and Mr Griffiths coffee. Mr G Davies and Mr Lucas agreed to run the bring and buy stall. The committee was in agreement that this was one of the easiest and most successful ways to raise funds. Further coffee evenings took place and in May 1970 there was a coffee evening followed by a dance.

In March 1967 the St Hilary WI asked the committee if they would consider an offer to help raise funds for the installation of a new heating system in the hall. The committee accepted the offer and agreed to combine with any effort the WI organised.

At a meeting held in May that year Mr J.C Clay offered the use of his gardens for a fundraising event and it was agreed that a garden party should be held on Sunday 30 July at the Cottage between 2pm-7pm. The St Hilary WI provided teas. A bottle stall was to be run by Mr Reg Griffiths. Alan Thomas agreed to run the ice cream and soft drinks and Nicola Lucas and Jane ran a white elephant stall. Pony rides were arranged by Alicia Thomas and Ann Davies and Peter Davies arranged the donkey weight guessing competition. Admission was 2/-, 1/- for children.

A cheese and wine and Fashion Show evening was suggested at the meeting held on 7 November 1967 to mark the re-opening of the village hall following refurbishment. The secretary agreed to arrange the detail with Mrs Ann Talbot and each member of the committee would contribute cheese and a raffle prize. Admission was 5/- which included one drink. Wine or a beer was available.

At the committee meeting held on 3 December 1967 it was reported that the WI intended to increase their annual donation from 10 guinees to 20 guinees and that they were making a £60 donation towards the hall renovation.

A Fancy Dress Halloween Dance was held on 31 October 1970 and the secretary was instructed to book a Caribbean Steel Band. Tickets were priced at 15/- each with a special rate of £5 for OAPs!

In 1971 the committee agreed to the formation of a Table Tennis Club ”providing that the members take good care of the hall and maintain it in good condition”. However, the club was short lived, as in 1973 it was disbanded due to a lack of support.

In 1978 The Feast of St Hilary Dance arrangements were discussed. Dr Rutley arranged Kentucky Fried Chicken at 85p per head and a disco was arranged. Miss Giles was asked to arrange for tickets to be printed. It was reported that the ticket would read as follows:
bids you to an evening of harmonious hilarity
at the Village meeting place
Friday 19 January 1979
between 8.30pm and 1.30am
Sound and light by Trevor Murphy
Kentucky Fried Chicken by Col. Saunders
Licensed bar by Derry Trot
All for £1.50!

The event was reported to be financially successful as it raised £113.24

The 1990s

Examples of activities and events held in the 90s include:

- September 1989 - 1992 Playgroup in the Hall ran by Monica Dennis and friend Jenny Labaton – click here for the details
- 1992 Coffee and pancakes morning
- 1992 Race Night
- June 1992 Car Boot Sale Ralph Thomas’ field
- November 1992 Village Bonfire
- November 1992 Autumn Supper
- September 1993 60s night
- October 1993 Village supper following evensong
- November 1993 Bonfire night Downs – village hall food
- December 1993 Mulled wine and mince pies
- March 1994 Coffee morning St David’s day
- September 1994 Village supper
- October 1994 Coffee morning
- November 1994 Bonfire night last time it was held
- November 1994 Wine tasting Ballantynes
- November 1995 Village supper
- December 1995 Carols, mince pies and mulled wine
- May 1996 Quiz Night
- March 1997 Quiz night

Other memories

Caroline, the daughter of Edith and Ken Vaughan told us that as a child in the 1950s she went to Christmas parties in the Village Hall.  She also reminisced about the youth club in the village hall run by Mrs Anne Jenkins in the early 60s. “We would dance to our records and every so often we would have a village dance. Tom Jenkins played the piano, Terry Foreman was on the drums and Les Jones on the fiddle. Viv Davies would sing ‘Diana’. Oh, for the good old days”.

In a recent interview Mary Thomas of Church Crescent recalled the frequent dances in the village hall and that the place was always heaving. Mrs Kennedy was ”the party piece and Lindsay Thomas used to go to town with it. He would be in the middle dancing with her. We had some very good nights there.
Les Jones (Howard’s father) played the violin
Tommy Jenkins (Maud Jenkin’s son) was the pianist
Viv Davies sang – he used to live in Carfref
Trevor Evans from Pen-y-Bryn farm was the drummer”
Mary recalled that there was also a steel band that came to the village a number of times. Plus, there were lots of fancy dress dances.  She commented that Bob Brierley and Jeannie Griffiths used to organise lots of things for the village.

Renovation of the Hall

During the above period hall renovation and repair was ongoing and included the painting the hall, the addition of a new toilet, window blinds and floor covering, cleaning equipment, new convector radiant heaters, repair of dry rot in the roof and replacement of roof slates.

In 1977 Graham Kitchen, arranged a working party to consider the re-decorating of the hall and it was suggested that a survey be carried out and estimates obtained. In May 1974 a grant of £2,000 was received from the Vale of Glamorgan Borough Council. There was discussion about the “inclusion of a different type of water heater and other items needing adjustment”

The documented hand written minutes used to collate the above end, with an AGM held on 24 April 1980. At this meeting Mr Alan Thomas presided and 17 parishioners attended.  Before calling for nomination as, the chairman explained that since the Thomas charity yielded such a small income i.e. 20p per annum, he recommended that it be amalgamated with the Jones charity, which is under the control of the vicar of the parish; and undertook to approach the charity commissioners to this end. This proposal was unanimously agreed.  The chairman then stated that he, the secretary and treasurer would not be standing for re-election. Mrs Elgiva Thomas had served for 21 years as secretary-Treasurer and the chairman (Alan Thomas) for 10 years. He then explained that the village hall had been handed down to the village by former parishioners entirely free from debt, and that the upkeep of the hall was the responsibility of the parish.

The following parishioners were elected:
- Mr Bill Beaumont
- Mrs Shirley Brown
- Mrs Heather Shaw
- Mr Graham Kitchen
- Dr Rutley
- Canon W.E.C Thomas

Those co-opted were:
- Mr Fred Elton Jones
- Mrs Gill Owens
- Mrs Ashleen Llewellyn
- Mr Rhodri Davies
- Mr David Lucas

Mrs Maud Jenkins resigned from being caretaker and did not wish to stand for committee.

Mrs Gill Clay proposed a vote of thanks to Mr & Mrs Alan Thomas and Mrs Maud Jenkins for their services to the Village Hall Committee. At the following committee after the AGM Mre Bill Beaumont was elected Chair in his absnce and Mr Fed Elton Jones became secretary and Treasurer.

Compiled June 2021 by Monica Dennis – from recorded village hall minutes 1958-1980