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Hulcote and Salford, Bedfordshire

THE HISTORY OF THE MARY AGATE HALL

Originally built in 1867,  by the family of Edward Orlebar Smith of Hulcote Rectory after his death.   Prior to his death, Edward Orlebar Smith had paid for the parish children to be educated at South Cottage, Salford.  

 

The local Education Authority took over the school building at some point and opened it as a National School. Mary Agate Hall, as it is now known, remained the village primary school up to 1952.  When it closed, the school was purchased by Mrs Mary Agate, who lived at Church Farm, Hulcote, Beds.

 

At the end of the 1914 – 18 war, a collection was made in the parish for a memorial to those local men who had fallen in the war.  The money collected paid for the church lych gate in Salford, plus a memorial inside the church.  

 

It was decided to create a clubroom onto the old parish barn, which stood next to the school, for soldiers returned from the war. (The barn had originally been built by Mr Henry Summerford for £44.00)  this proposal caused much disagreement as the barn was much used locally, for many purposes including the threshing of wheat and vegetables brought in there from allotments and fields – where would they thresh their crops after the clubroom was built?  There was an outcry!  Eventually it did get built by William Summerford, for £209.

 

The village stocks formerly stood next to the old parish barn, and were used regularly up to his death in 1920, by the last village constable Mr Caleb Emmerton (Great Grandfather of Mr Maurice Rust, who has spent most of his life in Salford and now lives in Cranfield).  

 

The village lads would take it in turns to upset Constable Emmerton on Saturday nights after leaving the Swan.  He would lock them in the stocks overnight, only releasing them after the Rector had walked past for the morning service the following day.

 

 Around 1977, Mrs Agate donated the school building to the village and established a charitable trust to run it as a village hall.  She planned to also donate some money for repairs to the building, but was unfortunately killed in a car crash on the Ridgemont Road.

 

The building was then in a very poor state of repair, also it was encumbered by the attached tenanted house, previously always used by the school teacher.

In order to help renovate the hall, the school house was sold to fund the repairs.

 

A smaller building on the northern side of the hall had at one time, been used to store coal for the village and was now called the Parish Room.  At the time of the first renovation, on the sale of the school house, it was decided to join this building to the hall.  

 

The strip of land which had been between them was made into a kitchen, toilets and entrance hall – and so the Mary Agate Hall became the building more or less as we know it now.

 

The hall was renovated, re-decorated and updated to EU standards recently, 2009 – 2010.

School 1902

The Hall in 1902

Salford Scool Class Sept 1940

The photograph above was taken in September 1940 and shows, with teacher Mrs.Linnell:

 

back row (left to right): Eileen Sedgwick; Doreen Newell; Joan Cox; Dorothy Young; Winnie Brooks; Lily Biggs;

 

second row: Donald Rust; Dennis Young; Pat Perrin; Enid Pettit; Marina Sedgwick; Judy Gadsden; Peggy Cameron; Margaret Brooks; June Hill;

 

front row: John Hill; Joyce Defraits; Ron Bass; Peter West