Aycliffe Village Hall

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Aycliffe Diamond Jubilee School

Aycliffe Diamond Jubilee School

The building known as Aycliffe Village Hall on North Terrace was built in 1897 and opened as the Diamond Jubilee School (to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee) on the 25 March 1898.  It was the village school from 1898 to 1970 when a new Junior & Infants school was built and opened on land to the rear of the Village Hall.  The building, owned by Durham County Council, was let to Great Aycliffe Village Hall Association for a peppercorn rent to be used as a Village Hall.

My family and I came to live in Aycliffe Village in August 1979.  This is a history of the Aycliffe Village Hall and its use since that time.  The Association was responsible for the upkeep of the Hall interior and Durham County Council (DCC) responsible for external repairs and maintenance and responsibility for the heating system which at that time was an old coke boiler.  The Hall had the benefit of a Caretaker paid by DCC.  Funding came via an annual grant from DCC and fundraising by the Association Committee.

now as Aycliffe Village Hall

Aycliffe Village Hall


In 1982 the Hall’s electrical wiring and fittings were in a poor state and the Hall was completely rewired by the North East Electricity Board and fixed with new lights, switches and sockets.  DCC provided a grant of £2,000 towards the total costs of £2,698.

In 1983 the old coke boiler was converted to a gas boiler which was much easier to operate, again this was funded by DCC.

In 1988 the single story extension on the east side of the main hall was built by local firm Coupe Construction.  This cost £11,770 and was funded by a grant of £4,487 from DCC and a grant of £4,500 from Great Aycliffe Town Council.  The balance came from the Association’s own funds.  In the same year the steel shutter to the Disco booth was installed costing £508.

In 1991 the Association became a Registered Charity with the Charity number 1004743.

In 1999 the Association was successful in obtaining a National Lotteries Board Grant of £2,532 which was used to fund the installation of the suspended ceiling in the main hall and adjoining small meeting room.  The ceilings cost £3,165 which included a thick layer of insulation material above the ceilings.

In 2006 major alterations were carried as the kitchen and toilets were all swopped around.  What had been the ladies became a new kitchen.  The gents became the ladies and the old kitchen became the gents with the addition of a new toilet for disabled access and baby changing facility.  The storage cupboards, backing on to the new toilet, were built at the same time.  Total cost was £22,884, funded by grants of £17,092 and fundraising.  A new computer suite was also added with the benefit of broadband installation and a new telephone line.

In 2008 new chairs were bought for the Hall costing £1,057.

In 2011 DCC due to its own funding problems assessed every community building in County Durham and placed them in categories ranging from those to be retained and receive investment to those marked for closure.  Fortunately Aycliffe Village Hall fell into the category to be retained and receive investment. 

In June 2012 the Hall was used to celebrate a second Diamond Jubilee.  This time that of Queen Elizabeth the Second.  A commemorative stone had been installed in the wall and unveiled.

In October 2013 DCC decided that they would no longer fund the cost of a Caretaker for the Hall, following the retirement of the existing Caretaker.

The asset transfer process as it has become known has been ongoing since July 2011 and will end in March 2015.

As part of that process the Association has had to accept responsibility for the upkeep of the entire Hall both internal and external.  Negotiations have been ongoing for many months to have DCC carry out outstanding external repairs prior to the transfer.  The Association will be granted a new 30 year lease of the building.

An Extraordinary General Meeting was held on the 14 June 2014 to receive public backing for the charity to convert to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and for all the assets of the Association to be passed to the new organisation.  It was also necessary as part of the process for a new Constitution to be drawn up.  This was approved.  The new charitable organisation has the number 1158767.

The Hall is used by organisations such as Acle Cubs & Scouts, Women’s Institute, Aycliffe Village Local History Society, St. Andrew’s Church and Social Club.  It is available to hire for private parties and outside bodies. 

Bookings for hall hire should be sent direct to:-
aycliffevillage@btinternet.com via the Facebook page or ring 07775 680804 for more information, booking or sponsorship.

The on-going viability of the Hall is dependent on the support of residents and the work of its Committee.  The Annual General Meeting is always held on the second Monday in March and new volunteers are welcome.

David Lewis

Aycliffe Diamond Jubilee School plaque

Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee


Aycliffe Village Hall Accounts
1979 a 1979 b 1996
1980 a 1980 b 1997
1981 1998
1982 1999
1983 2000
1984 2001
1985 2002
1986 2003
1987 2004
1988 2005
1989 2006
1990 2007
1991 2008
1992 2009
1993 2010
1994 2011
1995 2012