The building dates from 1864 and was built to function as both church and school for Helliﬁeld village. The schoolmaster's house was attached to the end of the building. Mrs Frances Stansﬁeld, wife of the Vicar of Coniston Cold, provided this village facility. She was a member of the Hamerton family of the original Helliﬁeld Peel.
From Monday to Friday , the building served as an Elementary School and on a Sunday it became the church and Sunday School. The Institute continued to fulﬁl these roles until the building of the present St Aiden’s Church and the primary school in the ﬁrst decade of the 20th century.
ln 1887 the ownership of the land, school and schoolhouse was transferred to the board of trustees for the sum of £500 with the site to be used for educational and charitable purposes, and ”as a school for the education of children and adults or children only of the labouring, manufacturing and other poor classes ”.
The running of the school was the responsibility of a Committee of Management. In 1972 the responsibility changed to a Committee of Trustees to run as a registered charity — the situation it is today.
After closing as a school in 1915, the Institute was used as a reading room and billiard room for men only. Later the village library was located there and in 1926 the Girls Friendly Society met in the Institute. What is now the Yorke Room, was turned into a kitchen to provide school meals for schools in the district. It was later used as a workshop by a local business.
In the 1980's the kitchen and toilets were built along with the conservatory linking all the rooms within the Institute. Major Yorke was invited to open the refurbished back room renamed the Yorke Room. It was at this time that the adjoining house was sold.
In recent years improvements have continued to be made to the building, including a new heating system, new windows, and a new roof, as well as investment in equipment and facilities to bring the Institute's facilities up to 21st century standards. As a result the building has evolved to the multi-purpose centre it is today. Still run by local people for the local community.
UPDATE OF CURRENT 'LOCK DOWN' SITUATION
The Trustees have now completed a risk assessment and have a plan for re-opening the village hall to the public. The safety of anyone attending the village hall is paramount and we ask everyone to follow the guidance given. The main points are: -
Anyone wishing to re-start their regular bookings or anyone wishing to hire the main hall, should contact our booking secretaries Ken and Heather Leak on 0783 7727 268 or 0779 0042 206 or email email@example.com and they will provide full information.
A trial coffee morning will take place on Saturday 5th September 2020 between 10.00 and 11.30 am.
Normally Coffee Mornings are held on most Saturday mornings from 10am to 11.30am, helping to raise funds for local charitable causes. We are hoping that these will continue, dependent on the outcome of the trial referred to above. If you wish to book a coffee morning after this time, please contact Heather Leak on 0779 0042 206 or Ken Leak on 0783 7727 268.
Latest 200 Club results
August 2020 - Increased prizes for 2020!
1st Prize £25 - No. 126 - Chris Darling
2nd Prize £15 - No. 193 - Joy Orwell
3rd Prize £10 - No. 22 - Ron Wardman