Skelton Toppin Memorial Hall, Cumbria (charity registered as: John Castlehow Toppin Memorial Hall), was gifted in 1923, by Fred Toppin, Vice -President of the company which controlled the famous White Star line, to honour his father, Mr J.C. Toppin, Alderman, Chairman of the local Rural Council and Guardian of the Poor for 57 years, who died in 1915. A journalists account of the halls opening ceremony in 1923 i available to view as a PDF at the bottom of the page.
2020 was the year we received a National Lottery Grant to allow us to begin the process of a major refurbishment to bring the venerable, architecturally unique and well loved village hall into the 21st century. The Pandemic took hold shortly thereafter, as we all know, with the national lock-down from March 23rd.
With the great help and guidance from ACRE and more locally, ACTion with Communities in Cumbria, we, as were a number of halls, able to complete a risk assessment, become a Covid Secure building and re-open at the end of September.
This allowed, the local village school, Youth Dodgeball, the Brownies, and Young Farmers to come back into the hall. (The village school was even able to have their Christmas party.) We held one trustee’s meeting, socially distancing in the hall, with the rest of the meetings being held virtually from our homes on the Zoom platform. Our zoom was offered to other hirers, with the Brownies making great use of it in periods when not able to be in the hall.
We managed a flag raising to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day and helped sponsor a village wide patriotic commemoration, where residents placed wartime family memorabilia and bunting in front of their houses over that weekend.
Now in the New Year, we’re hoping to be able to get on with our refurbishment efforts. Our Centenary is in 2023 and we hope to have at least some of the phases completed by then and to assist in the recovery of our rural community.