Aldenham War Memorial Hall and Cross (A short history of their beginnings 1919 to 1923)
Both the War Memorial and the Aldenham War Memorial Hall were built using funding raised in the parish of Aldenham and included the residents of Letchmore Heath – Battlers Green – High Cross – Kemps Row – Roundbush _ Otterspool – Wall Hall – Patchetts Green – Delrow – Grove Place – Hillfield – Aldenham School – Aldenham House.
Lord Aldenham offered land on Letchmore Heath Farm Paddock, between the Post office and the pond in the Spinney, for the construction of the Hall and in July 1919 Lord Rendlesham gave Permission for the Cross to be erected on the Letchmore Heath Village Green after draining the Village Green pond.
The hall committee resolved that funds should be raised for both hall and cross on 30th June 1920..
A Mr G Turner was appointed Architect.
A sub-committee was set comprising Major Edgcombe, Mr Kent and Mr Tudor to liaise with the Architect, with Mr Worby being appointed to organise voluntary labour and oversee the building work associated with the hall under the Architects instructions.
The Hall was built using “clay blocks” and the block expert was a Mr Batevas from Norfolk The moulds for the blocks were ordered via Mr Batevus and the Clay for the blocks came from Aldenham House Estate, the clay being dug and the blocks made by local volunteer labour.
The Cross was manufactured by Bromsgrove Guild and was in place by 10 November 1920, with the ceremony being performed on Sunday 6th December 1920.
By December 1920 the cost of the Hall was standing at £3260 and a further £1500 was likely to be needed to complete. The final figure to build and equip the Hall was £3972 and the Cross was £667.
The hall officially opened on Thursday 27th Jan 1921 at 8pm.
In December 1920 it was agreed to erect rails around the green (with small gaps for people) to prevent cattle damaging the cross.
On 24th May 1921 an agreement was made between the Parish Council and the Vicar & Church Wardens of Aldenham Church, in that the church would be the custodian of the Memorial Cross, the cross up to this date had been maintained jointly by the Village Hall and the local Woman’s Institute.
A memorial tablet was fitted on the West Wall of the hall in November 1923, and is inscribed “This hall was erected as a tribute to all those of this Parish who served their King and Country in the Great War 1914-1918 47 men and boys (one only 16yrs old) left the Parish to fight for King and Country, only to die on the battle fields in a foreign land – “Lest we forget”
M Pickford 12/08/2013