From Wolvercote Women’s Institute’s document Wolvercote Public Hall
& Institute, 1930
The need of a Building at Wolvercote suitable for Entertainment, Dances and Meetings (with smaller rooms for Committees, kitchens etc) has been recognised by the inhabitants for many years past, and ever since 1919 the Wolvercote Women’s Institute has been working, and saving money, for this object, and 12 months ago, supported by the votes of the members, they made a definite move.
They approached His Grace the Duke of Marlborough, and decided further to ask support for their scheme from all other (then) Village organisations. As a result, general approval has been received on all sides and it can now be definitely stated that His Grace the Duke of Marlborough has most generously promised a suitable site at the foot of William’s Lane, with only one condition, i.e. that sufficient funds be collected for substantial and suitable buildings within two years.
The time limit was suggested by the Women’s Institute, as they are assured that the need is a very urgent one, for, with the exception of the Schoolroom (adjoining the Baptist Church), and the Wolvercote Church Room, there is no other accommodation available, when the use of the Council Schools is refused either by the local magistrates or the Education Authority. It has, however, been generally realised that the Council Schools are unsuitable for Entertainments, and this fact adds strength to the appeal.
It is less than a year since Wolvercote became part of the extended City of Oxford, but it appears that the City Council’s Sub-Library Scheme may be held up for want of suitable accommodation in the Wolvercote district.
This appeal is made on the definite understanding that the buildings will not be available for the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages, other than by an occasional licence (which can be obtained for a special occasion).
Consideration of Plans must await the response to this appeal but, with reference to the support forthcoming, help with the final decisions will be gratefully received, and the Buildings, when erected, will be vested in Trustees, to ensure a fair use of the site for all time for every interest in Wolvercote. If sufficient funds are available a room will also be provided suitable for a Men’s Club. This was one of the proposals made ten years ago when the Duke first offered a site.
It is proposed that the requisite funds shall be raised by donations, and the appeal is for at least £1,500, excluding the value of the site. The Wolvercote Women’s Institute has already £150 in hand which the Members offer in order to start the appeal. They would, however, respectfully draw attention to the fact that this sum does not consist of large donations, but it is the result of years of hard work which will continue unabated for the objects of the fund.
His Worship the Mayor of Oxford and Councillor E.R. White (both of whom represent our Ward on the City Council) have already shown great interest in the scheme, and the latter (whose interest in social matters is well known) has consented, in conjunction with Mr W.H. Linnell, to act as Hon. Advisor.
The names given below give abundant evidence of the wide interest in the scheme and create a spirit of confidence that generous support will follow.
Signed on behalf of the Women’s Institute Committee, who have issued this appeal:
Edith Rendall, President
Mary Audland, Treasurer
Ida Fallows, Secretary
Wolvercote, March 1930
From the Changing Faces of Wolvercote, 1994
Wolvercote Women’s Institute did much to ensure the establishment of this vital village amenity. In a declaration of intent in 1929 they stated: “the future is for the young and the older ones must learn to appreciate their aspirations and see that they have all the chances possible and for this end we seek to erect a Village Hall and club room.”
Enough money was raised for the building to be opened in 1932. An infant welfare clinic was one of the important activities which took place there. In the summer of 1939 gas masks were distributed from the hall. During the war the Service Welfare Society’s Mr Hall, who had 250 men under the rank of corporal on his books, organised dances three times a week with the help of volunteers.
A wartime canteen was also held and during the time of Dunkirk, when soldiers were camped on Port Meadow, it was open three days a week. In January 1943 a canteen was held there for evacuees as well as local children.