Centenary for village hall built by Thrapston family business

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A one-hundred-year-old village hall built by Scotts of Thrapston is preparing to mark its centenary following the discovery of an historic archive.

Drayton, just over the Northamptonshire border in Leicestershire, was one of Scotts’ earliest commissions after the business was founded by James Scott in 1920.

Villagers from Drayton met in 1924 with the aim of raising funds to build a parish hall for use as a reading room, games room and as a space for dances, whist drives and concerts.

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Former village hall trustee Neil Killip discovered all the details in an archive in his loft as he was preparing to move house.

100-year old Drayton Village Hall.100-year old Drayton Village Hall.
100-year old Drayton Village Hall.

James Scott, great-grandfather of Scotts’ current managing director, submitted a tender for the construction of the building at a cost of £271 (equivalent to around £20k today).

Fundraising events included a grand draw with prizes including ‘a ton of coal, a bicycle and a live pig’.

Once construction was complete, Drayton village hall was fitted out with electric light, a collapsible stage and second-hand piano, and was officially launched by ‘Mrs Mark Firth’ from East Carlton Hall on 16 May 1925 with a tea for 150 people.

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A contemporary local media report described the hall as a ‘fine building of its type where design and workmanship are of the best’.

James Scott, Managing Director of Scotts of Thrapston, said, “It’s fascinating to hear the story of Drayton village hall, one of the earliest jobs for our family business.

"My great-grandfather employed skilled cabinet makers after the First World War to help construct timber agricultural buildings and the business grew from there.

"It is great to know that the hall remains sound and useful to the community one hundred years later.”

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Facilities at Drayton village hall have recently been upgraded with the support of a grant via FCC Environment through the WREN Landfill Communities Fund.

Simon Cooper, chair of the Drayton village hall committee, said, “It was a remarkable coincidence that Neil discovered the minute book from meetings in 1924 exactly one hundred years after the notes were made.

"Neil lived in the village for over 40 years and was an active member of the committee. He has recently moved to Yorkshire to be near family, and we wish him the very best for the future.

“The village hall has played an invaluable role in the life of the community over many decades and the villagers of Drayton are keen to protect and preserve it for future use.”

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Scotts’ business has evolved to encompass timber outbuildings and garages, equestrian buildings, and summerhouses.

For more information on Scotts’ summerhouses and equestrian buildings, visit www.scottsofthrapston.co.uk.