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The George Moore Memorial Hall in Mealsgate
After George Moore died, a Memorial Hall was built to his memory in Mealsgate in 1879 at a cost of £1300. The inscribed foundation stone laid by his widow, can be seen located adjacent to the drive on the front right hand corner of the building. The Hall incorporated what has been described as a concert hall or lecture hall on the first floor, a library containing over six hundred volumes and rooms set aside for religious and social purposes. According to one of the residents of Railway Cottages, situated opposite the Memorial Hall, the building gradually fell into disuse during the Second World War. Apparently, the building had live-in caretakers into the 1960s and church and sports club meetings were held in the Hall. It subsequently became rather dilapidated and was eventually sold in 1982 by then trustees, John Pattison Robinson, Alexander Downie Bell and William Marr to Mr and Mrs J. J. Beattie. They then part-converted the property to a dwelling called 'Sandarma' and, for a while, a Post Office was located within the premises. Today, it is solely a private domestic residence and the present owners have reverted to the use of the building's former name, 'The George Moore Memorial Hall', which can be seen inscribed on the original large sandstone plaque above the front entrance. As well as being recognition of the building's historical importance, this gesture helps to keep the name of George Moore alive. This may just prompt others to ask who he was and what he did and thus George Moore, even now, may serve as an example of good and altruistic behaviour to others. Speaking as a pragmatist, I am bound to admit this scenario is a far more likely occurrence than the implementation of my proposed strategy for the regeneration of George Moore's altruism in twenty-first century society, but who knows, the future, tomorrow's history, is full of surprises!
The gentleman who bought The George Moore Memorial Hall from the Trustees and who began its conversion to domestic use kindly provided some photographs of the building including aerial photographs taken, I believe, at different times during the 1980s and 1990s. In 2012 The Memorial Hall is getting a facelift and scaffolding has been erected.
Although the concert hall or lecture hall, with its ornate ceiling, elaborate roof ventilation and grand entrance archway, measured some 42 feet by 25 feet, its original purpose seems to have been simply that of a Meeting Room for the members. Dancing, musical entertainment and drinking of spiritous liquors was expressly forbidden on the premises by the rules and regulations governing the use of the property (see Rules 21, 22, 23). Click here for details of some of the events that took place in the Memorial Hall. Today, the so-called concert hall on the first floor has been converted to a large landing area with four double bedrooms and store room.
I should be very interested to hear from anyone who has photographs of the interior of The Memorial Hall when it was it was in use and under the administration of the Trustees. If these could be scanned for inclusion on this website I should be delighted to add them and to acknowledge the source. If you are able to help in this respect or, indeed, provide further historical information about The Memorial Hall please contact me by email. At this time I have only a few such photographs taken inside the Memorial Hall. One of these features Mealsgate Brownies doing a play in 1969. Another photograph shows the cast of the psychological thriller, 'Night Must Fall' by Emlyn Williams performed by Mealsgate amateur dramatics group, the Allhallows Players, circa 1970, I believe. I have also been shown a photograph taken in the Hall of the a scene from J.B. Priestley's play 'An Inspector Calls'. If anyone can furnish a copy of this photograph and details of the date etc. I should be delighted to include it here. Mr Peter Marr and Mrs Jean Fearon have also provided photographs of the players in two quite large scale productions which took place in the Memorial Hall and I should welcome information about these so that I can add some annotation. So many varied activities took place within the Memorial Hall over the years. Lectures were given, meetings were held, services were conducted, a Sunday School operated, civil defence was organised, brownies met, amateur dramatics was rehearsed and performed, games like billiards and table tennis were played, schoolgirls were taught cookery, cricket teas were laid on and table-top sales were held. In the early years a a library operated and in the later years, when it first moved into private ownership, a Post Office was run in part of the building. I feel that, out there somewhere, there must be a photographic record of many of the activities that went on within the Hall and I should very much like to assemble a pictorial record on this website of events that took place in and around the Hall. If you can help, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Links to the history of the Memorial Hall