‘Much-loved’ village hall near Horsham reopens with new extension

A much-loved village Hall near Horsham was officially reopened on Sunday after building of a modern multi-thousand-pound extension.

Horsham MP Jeremy Quin performed the reopening ceremony at Copsale Village Hall - said by many to be ‘very dear to the hearts of people in the area.’

A village hall committee team with chairman Dennis Livingstone raised more than £200,000 for the building.

The hall itself has served the area for more than 100 years. It was originally bought ‘second hand’ and was transported from Peckham Rye by train to West Grinstead - then moved by horse and cart to Copsale.

Horsham MP Jeremy Quin performs the reopening ceremony at Copsale Village Hall with committee chairman Dennis Livingstone, right

It was opened on January 1st 1907 as a working men’s club but later became known as the Club Room.

During the Second World War the hall was used by Armed Forces and at one time was a canteen for the Canadian Troops in the area.

After the war the management of the hall was taken over by a committee of local people who organised whist drives, socials and jumble sales.

The hall was also hired out for private functions and was used as a base for the Women’s Institute, county library and youth clubs.

Copsale Village Hall before completion of its refurbishment

Electricity was introduced in 1946, replacing oil lamps, and in 1950 a new room was added at the rear. Water was laid on in 1950 and brick toilets were built in 1985.

In 2015 the hall became a ‘Community Asset’ and two years later was registered as a charity and the trustees began fundraising for improvements.

Funding was granted by Biffa Award, the National Lottery Community Fund, Acre, a Sussex Community Grant and assistance from Horsham District Council and Nuthurst Parish Council.

Work on the extension was due to start early last year but was delayed because of the Covid pandemic.

MP Jeremy Quin said: “The project has ensured the hall has fully modern facilities - including a brand new kitchen.

“Copsale is no longer the only village hall in Sussex with outside loos!

“The construction work was undertaken by Case Builders from Maplehurst who completed the task despite having to battle through Covid.

“It was great to see a brilliant finished article.”