In February 1946 plans were revealed that the Yelverton War Memorial was to take the form of a recreation ground.. It was hoped that the ground could be developed into a community centre to cater for all. The WMN (20 Feb 1946) reported that: “at a meeting of the committee the Chairman, Mr R Robinson Rodd, was able to report material progress in negotiations for the field. It is anticipated that the total cost of the project will run into several thousands of pounds”. The article goes on to mention that , “contributions are being invited and a sub-committee, with Mr S P Hatch as chairman and Mrs M Partridge as secretary, has already raised nearly £300. Arrangements are being made for a gymkhana on April 27. The War Memorial Committee is representative of the district with Maj. G A Slaughter as hon. Secretary and Mr H R Dibben as acting hon. Treasurer”.

wmn-46Advertisements appeared in the WMN for a Mounted Gymkhana & Jumping to be held in Spooner’s Sports Field—admission 1/- (5p); car & driver 3/- (15p) - in aid of the Yelverton War Memorial.

In April 29 the WMN reported that there were 200 entries and, in spite of bad weather, there was a good attendance. Cup winners were Miss Mooney and R Hard.

At the second annual meeting of the Yelverton War Memorial Fund it was announced that the committee had bought Messrs Spooners’ Field at Yelverton with a view to building a village hall there. The field had been bought for £1,750. It comprised just under five acres and included a pavilion, a Nissen hut, and timber. Mr H B Dibben, acting hon. treasurer, said the total income for the year had been £500, and of that £175 had been paid in deposit on the field. All officers and committee members were re-elected.

Messrs. Spooners had purchased the field in the early part of the twentieth century as a sports field for their staff. Every Wednesday the Plymouth store closed and the workers arrived by train to exercise. They called the field the Avenue Recreational Club. In 1933 they held twenty-four events including a number of humorous ones. The WMN reports that records had only been kept over the last two years and that “a feature of the sports was the excellent running by the women competitors, whose football match was one of the big events of the afternoon”. There were also sideshows and music from the Devon Royal Engineers Band.

Times were changing after the war and Spooners were happy to sell the field. Numerous fund raising events were held and each year a gymkhana was held. In 1948 there was once again a good attendance. In the evening a dance was held in the Yelverton Church Hall. The last gymkhana was held in 1950. The secretary was Captain Hobbs of Polvellan, Yelverton. The dance in the evening was to the Meridian Dance Band—admission 2/6 (12½p).

The money collected, it was time to build the hall which was completed in 1948. The local Bowling Club used the Cricket Pavilion and laid a new green over the old tennis courts (see Appendix 1), completing it in 1953. The Nissen
hut was used by the Yelverton Scouts & Cubs until they were swallowed up by the Walkham Vale group. Later the Tennis Club also built courts (see Appendix 2) and a club house.

By early 1989, the Yelverton War Memorial Recreation Field and Village Hall Trust realised that the cost of maintaining the Village Hall was not worth it.


The wooden building was in a bad state with much of the wood rotting and the roof leaking. Peter Brown (vice-chairman) said that a recent survey showed that the building required a considerable sum to bring it up to standard. He hoped the people of Yelverton would sanction a stone or concrete building. In early September a letter was sent to all residents stating that the old hall was in a poor state of health and needed replacing, “under the trust created in 1946 the land was given to the residents of Yelverton for recreational use . . . The field and hall have been maintained over the years, not by statutory body, but by the hard work of individuals who have given generously for their time & skill”. The committee wanted “a hall that will be big enough for indoor games like badminton, bowls or skittles: a hall with several small rooms for clubs and special interest groups to meet in: a hall that will be a centre for the local community and that will be used by the community: a hall for the people of Yelverton to be proud of”. The letter concluded with a plea for money - £150,000 would be needed - grants would be applied for and an Open Day was planned for 14 September 1989. The Tavistock Times reported that a model of the proposed building by local resident George Rudkin would be on display.

By late Autumn wheels had been set in motion to raise about £120,000. The initial design was changed and the new hall, designed by John Simmonds of Torrington, was to accommodate 300 people, have a spacious kitchen and ancillary rooms. After a great deal of work by the committee and supporters grants were obtained from Devon County Council (£33,000), West Devon Council (£33,000) and the Dartmoor National Park (£4,000). Over £50,000 was raised locally. Local Councillor Les Reece said, “They’ve worked like slaves. They’ve got money out of stones I didn’t even know existed”. Halfyard & Easterbrook of Tavistock were awarded the contract to build the hall andbegan work in May 1991. The building was finished by the end of the year andwork began inside. All the electrical work was done by R Harvey of Yelverton and the plumbing & fixtures by Michael Barnes of Bere Ferrers. Castle
Kitchens of Plymouth donated all the kitchen fitments.

The new Village Hall was officially opened in March 1992 by the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, Lord Morley of Pound House, Yelverton. It was the largest village hall in rural Devon. Today the hall has a thriving community including indoor bowling, badminton, weight-watchers, aerobics, yoga, karate, bingo, Scottish Dancing, table-top sales, talks and group meetings. There is also a football pitch, bowling green and tennis courts. Car Boot sales are a regular source of income along with private bookings. The whole complexalways looks welcoming, clean and tidy.

The name ‘Village Hall’ now seems to have been replaced by ‘The War Memorial Hall’ - a fitting memento to those people of Yelverton who sacrificed there lives in war.



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