Kingstanding Community Association and Hall

Memories of Kingstanding Community  hall

Source:http://www.search.digitalhandsworth.org.uk/engine/resource/exhibition/sequential/child.asp?txtKeywords=&lstContext=&lstResourceType=&lstExhibitionType=2&chkPurchaseVisible=&txtDateFrom=&txtDateTo=&x1=&y1=&x2=&y2=&scale=&theme=&album=&viewpage=%2Fengine%2Fresource%2Fexhibition%2Fsequential%2Fchild.asp&originator=%2Fengine%2Fcustom%2Fhistory.asp&page=&records=&direction=&pointer=21&text=0&resource=4182&exhibition=773

One of the main drawbacks for the early residents of Kingstanding was the lack of social facilities. The residents had moved from close knit communities in the inner city where everyone in a courtyard knew and supported each other to new houses where their neighbours, at least initially, were likely to be strangers. Essentially what was built at Kingstanding and Perry Common was a new town and new towns would need community facilities to function. As early as July1930 the Public Works Committee of Birmingham Corporation decided to erect a communal hall at a cost of £11.000. The hall was to have a seating capacity of almost 500 people with a stage and ladies and gentlemens green rooms. It was intended that the hall would act as a focal point for the new estates; it being estimated that within a mile’s radius of the proposed site there would be 15,000 houses with a population of 60,000. As the Evening Despatch reported at the time, ‘For the full expression of the communal spirit a central meeting place is essential. In other words a public hall which will provide facilities for the holding of public or private meetings, dances, concerts and so forth is a necessity’. The proposal was in the nature of an experiment likely to be copied around the city if Kingstanding was successful. The building went out to tender but the financial crisis of 1931 meant that the Corporation postponed the go-ahead. In July 1932 following pressure from local residents and councillors the Corporation asked various committees to confer to secure the construction of a building to cover the social activities of the Estates, Public Works, Baths, Education and Public Libraries committees. Representatives of the five committees met and it was announced in January 1933 that it was not necessary to erect a combined building and that each committee was at liberty to proceed with its own scheme when and where required. This effectively marked the end of the scheme to provide a central, Corporation funded, social hall for the district.
In the meantime the Perry standing Community Association made plans to fill the gap left by the postponement of the Corporation’s hall. In June 1932 the Association issued a pubic appeal to raise £1,500 to erect a community hall for Kingstanding. In its appeal the Association presented a bleak picture of the facilities on the estate:
‘There are as yet no public parks, no playing fields, no buildings where social, recreational, or educational gatherings can be held (other than the schools which for various reasons are often unsuitable) and no public library nearer than two and a half miles. Those who have an intimate knowledge of the district are concerned over the problems which arise when numbers of young people are deprived of the opportunity of satisfying their natural desires for organised communal life’.
The appeal was successful. A site at the corner of Kings Road and Kingstanding Road was leased from the Corporation and in the space of 6 months the Lord Mayor opened a small hall in January 1933. The Community Hall provided the main social and educational focus for Kingstanding residents throughout the early years on the estate.

Memories of Brian Scott

Ladies fitness class in Kingstanding Community Association Hall in the late 1930’s. The Duke of Kent is far left. Copyright Brian Scott

You might say it was the cultural centre of Kingstanding. The first thing I recall about that was that my mother was the member of an organisation called ‘The Helping Hand’. They used to have an arm band in green with a white hand on it and they used to provide comforts if you like for soldiers particularly (during World War 2). And they were very involved in particular when the soldiers started coming back from Dunkirk (Evacuations from occupied France; late May to early June 1940). We were horrified to hear from the soldiers when they got back. They were told to dump all their equipment and when they got back to the UK they had to pay for it all. They brought them to the hall (amongst other places). They were still shell shocked if you like. They were brought directly from Dover immediately after Dunkirk.I don’t know what happened to them after that but I do know it was an assembly place for them. I remember my mother going down and dispensing tea and sandwiches for them.

Memories of Phil from 1975

Kingstanding Community Association and extension, Artists Impression 1979. Source Kingstanding Library

The only memory I have of Kingstanding is demolishing the old Circle community centre inside the new one as they built it around the old one.  A complicated and labour intensive job, as I remember it. I can’t even remember who the main contractor would have been. Could it have been W.Sapcote & Sons?

All I remember was we supplied the skips and every now and again when they had built a bit more and they needed some more knocking down they called us in. You have to remember that I was rarely on the job myself as I was office bound by then.

John Payne Recalls dances at the community hall

Responses

  1. I remember going toSunday school at the community hall when I was about 9 or 10 I think ,the group leader was a Mrs Woodcock who used to call at all of our houses in atlantic rd and march us there . I also remember goint to dances there on a sunday night I think it was known as ” The Happy Circle ”
    I also remember thet they used to have a whole week of Plays by all the local dramatic societies – happy days


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