PENTRICH VILLAGE HALL is steeped in history and is now a very popular venue for many regular weekly and monthly groups including: Christian Assembly, Second Revolution Quilters, Third Age Quilters, Pentrich Patchers, Ripley Bridge Club, U3A Art Group, Alfreton Philatelic Society, Dog Training, Cake Decorating, Pentrich WI, and Pentrich Historical Society meetings and many more. It is also a great venue for a party.
In April 1818 the Duke of Devonshire (6th) visited Pentrich to see his loyal tenants who had not taken part in the revolution the previous year. By this time anyone connected with the revolution and their families had all been evicted from their property and the cottages raised to the ground. The Derby Mercury records the Duke’s visit and says that when he reached the site of Thomas Bacon’s house he announced that he would give money to build a school to be built on that site. The building was completed in 1819. It opened with 40 pupils and one master. It was enlarged in the mid 19th century to make two classrooms. Going back to the turn of the century there are reports of School Board Meetings.
At some point the Council/County Council took over the running of the school, but the building remained the property of Chatsworth. During the 1940s the Headmaster was Algernon Scrowther, we believe from Whatstandwell. He was reputed to be a strict disciplinarian. There is a picture of him with a group of boys in the allotments which were opposite the school. The boys spent a good deal of time there and did not always enjoy it. The infant teacher was Mrs Annie Walters, loved by all the pupils she taught. She was the wife of ‘Yankie’ Walters and mother of Francis. Most of the children from Hammersmith and some from Lower Hartshay came to Pentrich School.
The building was used for almost all of the social events within the village. During the approach of the Second World War there were a number of A.R.P. lectures (they sound a bit like Dad’s Army). There were also dances, teas and whist drives.
When the village was sold in 1950 the building was offered to the village but the Parish Council declined to take it over considering it ‘too great a liability’. At this stage it was given to the church. It was used for concerts, celebrations, whist drives and the like, but when the school eventually closed in 1954, it began to fall into disrepair.
Come forward to 1977 and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the Parish Council gave Betty Sneap £50, believed to be from their own pockets, to arrange a party for the children in the village and to buy them a commemorative mug each. There was so much support that a profit was made. It was decided to spend the money on a bonfire/fireworks but again a profit was made. At this stage several residents decided to look at improving the Village Hall. There was only limited success, but eventually a lease was sorted, a charitable trust formed with a committee of four: Betty Sneap, Jenny Foster, John Cox and Dennis Sumpter and the hall was managed and run for about 20 years. Finally a cabinet reshuffle and lottery funding brings us up to date with the hall we have now.
(with thanks to Betty Sneap)