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Village Hall History

The Old Village Hall

The Village Hall from 1926 to 2007 is over and to the left of the garages. The building had many different levels and, for a variety of reasons, it was impossible to adapt to ensure it was accessible to all or to give the spaces deemed necessary.

Community consultation confirmed the view that Slaidburn needed a new village hall which fitted well into the conservation village and Slaidburn Property Trust consulted widely to find the accommodation required in the hall. The Trust then asked the architect to produce a harmonious building that gave the identified space and satisfied four criteria:


1. The building should be as environmentally friendly as possible.

2. Natural materials sourced as locally should be used in the work wherever possible.

3. Everything necessary should be done to minimise long term maintenance and running costs.

4. It should be a building of the highest quality.


The building work started in January 2006 and was completed in May 2007.

The total build cost was over £1,500,000 and came from a variety of sources, most notably from an independent charity, North West Trust.   Other significant funds came from the Enterprising Rural Communities and Pathfinder in Practice programmes supported by the Northwest Regional Development Agency; the European Union through ERDF; the Lancashire Environmental Fund and the Bowland Sustainable Fund. There was also considerable capacity building help and advice from Community Futures and the Lancashire Economic Partnership.   Necessary funds also came from from local and national charities, local businesses like Forest Enterprise and many, many local people.


About the New Hall

Slaidburn Village Hall is built on the site of the former Methodist Chapel and the adjoining Chapel House and was opened in 2007. It replaces the previous village hall which was itself converted in 1926 from a butcher’s shop and the top floor of an agricultural barn.

When the Methodist Church sold the Chapel buildings and site in 1999, they looked like the picture on the right.

The replacement building now looks like:

The new lime render is an off white colour so that the building looks whitewashed as it used to be prior to the depression in the late 1920's. This is well illustrated by the following two photographs:

The Chapel from the banks around 1900

The Chapel with the whitewash fading around 1930

The retained Chapel Street facade in 2006

The facade of the Village Hall facing Chapel Street looked as above in January 2006 before it was restored and re-rendered. The Chapel part of the facade has the original stonework behind the new render but resin has been pumped into the wall under pressure and steelwork erected behind to ensure no further subsidence. The Chapel House frontage had to be demolished as it was declared unsafe by the professionals and it has been rebuilt as a replica of the original. The old Chapel gable facing towards the Green has also been restored, resin pumped into crevasses, steelwork erected behind and re-rendered with the sole addition of two large slot windows.


The Environment Agency required the floor level of the Village Hall to be almost 1m higher than the original floor level of the Chapel to try to ensure the building never floods. The Planning authority required the old Chapel and Chapel House windows and door openings to be as original. While fine from the outside, the raised floor level and the original floor and door positions gave the architect a challenge to ensure the inside of the building works well and looks good. The old doors onto the street are bricked up behind the new wooden doors so they look just like the rest of the wall internally. A consequence is that the bottom row of original windows is now at floor level and has produced an interesting internal feature.


All eight windows and two doors onto Chapel Street have been replaced in their original style and have been built in oak by craftsmen.

The two facades of the old building that the planners insisted be retained photographed from alongside the bowling green.


The building was designed by the architects, Austin:Smith-Lord of Liverpool to fit into this conservation village and the random stone exterior was chosen, after much discussion, to match the style of some other buildings in the village.


The unusual shape of the building was determined by the line of a right of way and to ensure that the building did not encroach on land claimed by others. The result adds to the building’s charm and helps it to blend into the background.


Village Halls are always short of storage space so when it was found that the compact nature of the site did not allow for much storage and also allowed no space at all for the wood chip boiler decisions had to be taken. It was decided the answer was to build a basement which could be done with little digging as the ground floor in any case had to be raised from street level. The resulting basement is a great unseen feature of the hall.


The building is of steel frame construction and has been specified to a very high standard to minimise future upkeep. Insulation is far greater than required by legislation and there are features like a carbon neutral wood chip underfloor heating system, low energy lighting (including LED where appropriate) and a heat recovery system from extracted air which is then used to warm its replacement so saving energy.

The concrete slab floors being lowered into the steel frame

A bat survey before building work started found that a few Pipistrelle bats had used the Sunday School loft as an occasional summer day roost.


In line with the Trust’s environmental policy, a temporary box was acquired for passing bats during the building phase and three boxes each sufficient to hold over 60 bats have been incorporated in the final building. The first box, built into the gable overlooking the Green recieved its first occupants long before the building was completed.

A Pipistrelle bat on the wing

Water is supplied by a bore hole as the utility company water supply to the village is not fit for human consumption and there was concern that the private supply which provides water to most village properties would be unable to cope with the potential extra demand of the hall.

A sub contractor was brought in to drill the bore hole.

The feel and comfort of the hall have been enhanced by the care and quality of the interior. For instance the main hall has a fully sprung oak floor and most of the other downstairs rooms have natural slate flagged floors.


Those with disabilities have been catered for with a lift from street level to ground floor then up to the first floor, loop systems for people with hearing difficulties and clear signs for the visually impaired.


The hall has been equipped to a high standard. Prime considerations for chairs were comfort, looks and durability before price and a similar strategy has been followed in the selection of other fixtures and fittings. The stage is flexible for size height and position, there is stage lighting, current state of the art PA system, audio equipment et cetera to ensure the best service for events like weddings and conferences.


The Building Team & their work

Architect: Austin-Smith:Lord initially of Warrington and then of Liverpool
Concept by Alistair Sunderland and detail by Peter Jones and Victoria Alderton

Quantity Surveyor: Todd & Ledstone of Liverpool
Richard Longster and Stuart Champion

Structural Engineer: Bingham Davis of Liverpool
Ian Booth & Brian Edmondson

M & E Engineers: Emech of Stockport
Mechanical by Mike Aspinall and Electrical by Steve Dewsbury

Planing Supervisor
& "Mr Fixit": Tony Hargan - AJH Associates of Clitheroe

Flood Risk Consultant: Richard Annable - JBA Consulting of Skipton

Bat Surveyor: Stan Irwin of Formby

Contractor: Marland Builders & Contractors Ltd of Leyland
Contract Manager - Mike Burridge

Alistair Sunderland - architect

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