Summary of the History by Trevor Cox September 1989
The Vicar, Rev White, reports that he has been anxiously looking for the site in the town upon which to build a room in which Mother’s Meetings, Bible classes, Temperance Meetings and concerts – in fact all the various meetings which are constantly taking place in the parish, can be held.
It is with the greatest pleasure that the Vicar can announce the truly handsome gift of a Parish Room from the Hoare family and he is deeply grateful for their great liberality in supplying a long felt want. The room will be used for the work of the Parish of Titchfield, of which he has oversight.
The Lord of the Manor (Mr. Seymour Delme) has forwarded the plans for making the purchase of the site, which he owns at the corner of High Street and Southampton Hill. The building will commence as soon as the necessary legal deeds are completed and hopefully the room will be ready for use by the winter.
With a very thankful heart, the Vicar announced that the Parish Room had really begun. The building will take some months to erect. It is not a Town Hall but a room in which all branches of the parish will find a centre.
St. Peter’s Parish Room is nearly finished and it has been arranged at April 23rd (St. George’s Day) will be the opening day – one which will be long remembered in Titchfield. The room is a handsome building of facing flint and Bath stone, roofed with pressed tiles. It is a gift of relatives of the late Mr. Henry Hornby and has been erected to his memory. The site was purchased and handed over freed from any copyhold tenure. The builder was Mr. C.C. Cooke from Worthing (no doubt known to the donors, who lived in Worthing)
Arrangements for the Opening
The opening ceremony was 3.30pm, followed by a concert and another concert at 8:00pm. The Very Reverend the Dean of Winchester performed the opening ceremony. Unfortunately, the Hoare family were unable to be present. Mrs. Hoare who had paid for the rooms had died on 9th January 1891.
Punctually at 3:30pm the Dean, accompanied by the Vicar, came in, and after a short service of prayers and thanksgiving, declared the Room open. The Church Warden of St. Peter’s then read out extracts from the deed bearing upon the Trusteeship and the use to which the Room is to be put.
- That the Trustees are to be the Vicar and the Churchwardens
- That the building is to be used as a Parish Room in connection with the Parish Church of St. Peter and for the purposes of the Church of England in the said Parish.
that, the said premises are not to be used for any trade or business, any political purpose or otherwise than a Parish Room, in connection with the Parish Church of Titchfield.
- That the building shall only be used in such a manner for general purposes as the Vicar and Churchwardens shall think fit and determine.
Then Mr. Cooke formally handed the keys of the Room to the Vicar, who accepted them on behalf of the Trustees. The Vicar proposed a vote of thanks to the donors, seconded by General Gordon. This was followed by great applause. After mentioning the long list of donors, he emphasized that the Room would be free of any debt.
The afternoon concert then began and was carried out in great spirit. The performers came from Fareham, Alverstoke, Crofton and Sarisbury. For the evening concert, the Room was again crowded, rounding off a very eventful day for all Titchfield folk.
That everything went perfectly was a tribute to Mrs. White, who had sent out over 300 letters inviting donations and equipment. One gift was the Benson clock, which was put above the entrance door.
The Room was soon put to good use, with the Vicar running Bible classes for men and women and the Band of Hope putting on a grand entertainment, with Miss Hoare and Mrs White handing out presents and distributing sweets, dates, oranges and buns as the children left.
Altogether we get a picture of the Parish Room playing an important role in improving the quality of life in Titchfield and we owe a debt of gratitude to Vicar White and the generous benefactor, who made it all possible.
The Parish Room continued to be controlled by the Church Council up to the 1960’s, when the management was handed over to the Charity Trustees. It is now run by a committee representing all the village organisations, who find the maintenance of the Room and improvements required to allow it to operate, quite a demanding task.
However, even with the bulk of bookings now taken by the Community Centre, the Parish Room caters for many of the day-ti-day events, which are greater than ever and it’s Friday WI Market is widely patronised. Every effort must be made to see that the Parish Room will continue towards its second centenary, as one of the village’s most precious amenities.
Trevor Cox September 1989