The Chilwell War Memorial Hall and Institute: how it all began..
“The memory of the gallant men who sacrificed their lives during the Great War of 1914-1918 has been perpetuated in a variety of ways by almost every city, town and village throughout the country. One of the last places in this district to erect a memorial has been Chilwell, where an Institute costing nearly £4,000 was opened last Saturday afternoon”
So reported the Beeston Gazette & Echo of Saturday 10th May 1924.
The delay in proving such a memorial had not been due to a last minute inspiration but because it was difficult for such a small township to provide sufficient money to erect something tangible. Mr. G.H. Hunt the chairman of a committee of Chilwell ladies and gentlemen had been plodding patiently and energetically for several years and from flower shows, whist drives, dances etc. £332 had ben obtained. Clearly, it could be seen from this figure that such a fine Institute as was proposed could not have built without donations from outside sources and the committee was indebted to a Mr. Edward Titley of Chilwell.
In the first instance Mr. Titley presented the site and paid for it to be fenced off. The committee then met and a fund was opened, Mr. Titley’s contribution being £1000.
With such an auspicious start an architect was requested to prepare plans which when presented to the committee were considered to be on too ambitious a scale!
In order, however, to allow the scheme to materialise Mr. Titley added another £1000 to the funds.
Finally on Saturday 3rd May 1924, at the opening ceremony, Mr. J.H. Brough the builder handed Mr. Titley a silver key with which to open the door of The Institute which stands now for all to see at No. 129, High Road, Chilwell. At the opening ceremony Mr. Hurt expressed the hope that the fact would not be forgotten that 30 Chilwell men sacrificed their lives in the war. A brass memorial tablet commemorating their names is erected inside the Institute. He felt sure that the Institute was the kind of memorial the men themselves would have wished them to erect. He wanted the Institute to be the centre of social life of the village, but not to be used solely for pleasure. “It should be used for educational purposes, and advantage should be taken of the facilities offered by the Notts. County Council who now provide lecturers to give instruction on horticultural and agricultural matters, tree pruning, bee keeping, fruit preserving etc.” he said.
How times have changed!!
The ethos of the original Trustees was “That the Institute shall be used as a club or place of assembly for the inhabitants of Chilwell and the neighbourhood and that in determining what persons or class of persons shall be entitled to use the Institute no regard shall be had to or distinction made on grounds of religious discrimination, political opinions or sex.”