Barrow Hill Memorial Hall

Richard Barrow had built the first stage of his model village in the 1850’s, [1] which then included over 100 block cottages providing homes for his newly recruited miners, four villas for his works manager’s, a combined C. of E. Church mission and National School and a schoolmaster’s house. In the early 1860’s, he turned his attention to the problem of keeping his workforce at regular hours of work and built a Dining Hall and a Hotel as well as three further villas.

What is now the Barrow Hill Memorial Club was originally built as a Workmen’s Dining Hall where a meal could be purchased for less than 6d (2½p). Based on a system used widely in Scotland, this was the first such community building in the Midlands area [2] and was Barrow’s attempt to provide his workers with a more sober alternative to the alehouses.

Club Original Building

The original building, prior to later extensions

The Dining Hall 1863-1920

The building itself was described as “a very fine stone edifice,” [3] although, like most of the other buildings in the model village, the stonework was confined to the front of the building; bricks from Barrow’s own brickworks were used for those parts of the building that could not be seen from the road or railway. It was “exceedingly neat and unostentatious.” [4] The hall cost Barrow £2,923 to build in 1863 and included a Dining Room and a library and reading room, as well as five rooms for the accommodation of the resident superintendents. [5]

The Dining Hall was officially opened on Easter Monday in April 1864 when 250 guests enjoyed a dinner prepared and served by the superintendents, Henry and Sarah Kill. The occasion was also a cause for celebration following the rescue of twelve men and boys from the Spitalwell pit.  The “Bill of Fare” for the new Dining Hall included:

Bowl of broth or soup  1d              Plate of potatoes   1d

Lemonade  1 ½d            Tea or coffee 1d

Bread and butter 1d           Breakfast  2d

Dinner of meat and bread 4 ½d

Club Meal NumbersThe 1876 Post Office Directory describes the Dining Hall somewhat less flatteringly as a “soup kitchen for miners.”

The Kills were followed as superintendents by the Burrows, with Mrs Burrows described as the “manageress of the dining room” in the 1870’s. Although the premises were recorded as “unoccupied” on the 1881 census, Arthur and Mary Allcroft are listed in both 1891 and 1901 as the caretaker and cook. The couple were later followed by George and Lilian Huckle who are recorded on the 1911 census at what was then number 10, Station Road. [6]

Although Barrow had died soon after the Hall opened, the Staveley Coal and Iron Company continued to own and manage the Hall. In addition to providing meals both on-site and to take away, the building was used to entertain visitors to the works and for special village and works events. Evening classes, lectures and “instructive” Penny Readings were designed to improve the miner’s minds. It was reported that, at a musical concert in 1865, “It was pleasing to see pitmen and their wives listening to music so chaste in sentiment.” [7]

By the 1890’s, the range of events and activities had widened and included annual dinners and balls, tea and dance evenings, bazaars, public meetings and even billiards matches which would not have been allowed in Barrow’s time. The 1895 Kelly’s Directory describes the building as the “Reading and News Rooms and Library” with Arthur Allcroft as the secretary and librarian.  Herbert Walker is recorded in the same role in 1912. During the 1912 miner’s strike, the Company provided daily meals for 240 children at the “Dining Hall.” [8]

The Memorial Club 1920

After the First World War, a fund was set up and plans were made for a memorial cross to be erected in Barrow Hill in memory of the large number of local men who had died serving their country.

“At a meeting of the Barrow Hill Soldiers and Sailors Comforts Committee, held at the Barrow Hill schools, on Monday, it was decided to hold a flower show and a band contest in Ringwood Park in August, the proceeds to go towards the erection of a monument in memory of Barrow Hill men who had made the supreme sacrifice in the war. It was reported that a house-to-house collection had been started for the benefit of the fund. Representatives from the Barrow Hill Gardeners Association were present, and they agreed to support the flower show”. [9]

Club WW1 Relief Committee

The Soldier and Sailors Comforts Committee. Photograph: Gladys Arthington collection. The man in the centre front row is Isaac Samuel to whom a stained glass window, by William Morris and Co (Westminster) in St Andrew’s Church is dedicated.

However, “An announcement made by Mr. Charles Markham at a crowded meeting at the Workmen’s Hall, Barrow Hill, on Wednesday evening, that he is willing on behalf of the Staveley Coal and Iron Company, of which he is chairman, to make a gift of that hall to the inhabitants of Barrow Hill as a nucleus of a Peace Hall, was received with acclamation.” [10]

Markham said that the memorial should incorporate “something which would alleviate the lives of the wives, the sons, brothers, and husbands, in a social manner” and advised the War Memorial Committee to “get to work and form a committee” [11] which, with a club social committee, would run the hall as a joint concern. The income from subscriptions, billiards and games would be put towards the upkeep. He suggested that, by “knocking out the ends of the building they would have a very fair-sized hall, and would make a social club not only for men but for the women also.” [12]

The name of the building was immediately changed to the Barrow Hill Memorial Club and discussions began on the proposed alterations and management changes. A social committee was formed and billiard player, David Carpenter, was appointed the “Steward” in 1921. Kelly’s Directory lists Walter Lane as the secretary of the “Barrow Hill Working Men’s Club in 1925, 1932 and 1941.

Plans for the extensions and a Deed of Trust were drawn up and put to members of the club for approval in May 1924.  The cost of the alterations was estimated to be in the region of £5000 and Charles P. Markham offered a loan of £3,000 from the Staveley Company to supplement the £2,000 raised by the village for the war memorial.  The plans included “a large concert or dance hall, library, billiards hall, slipper baths etc., and also a section for women only. The bar will remain in the old club, which will have direct access to the new one.” [13]

Club WW1 Extensions

Post WW1 extensions

The Trust

Club 1924 DeedThe original 1924 Deed

A trust document was agreed and the building was duly conveyed to the four appointed trustees on 20th September 1924. [14] This Deed of Trust is still the governing document of the building and states that the building should “be used in perpetuity as a Club, Reading Room, Library or otherwise for the advantage or benefit of the inhabitants of Barrow Hill.” The Deed sets out clear rules for the appointment of new trustees by the Staveley Coal and Iron Company -or their “successors in business” – and for setting up a committee to manage the property, as well as conditions to ensure that the trust operates “in such manner for the benefit of the inhabitants of the said place of Barrow Hill.”

The Trustees

The original trustees were selected by Charles Markham; all lived in Barrow Hill and held management positions at the works. Thomas Bladen, Ben Marson, Charles Whitehead and John Marshall were succeeded over the years by others appointed by “successors in business” of the Staveley Coal and Iron Company as required by the Deed of Trust.

Club Sale of Works cutting

Glasgow Herald: 13th September 1960

The many changes of ownership at Staveley Works in the 20th century required the Club to address these changes to allow new trustees to be appointed whenever a vacancy arose. A “Deed of Appointment,” dated 6th November 1962 notes that “The Staveley Iron and Chemical Company Limited” was then responsible for the appointments.

The company became part of the nationalised British Steel Corporation in 1967 but passed back into the private sector in 1985 when it was acquired by Pont-á-Mousson SA (later part of St Gobain) and a further Deed of Appointment was drawn up on 16th April 1985 to reflect this change when appointing new trustees.

The Committee

The Deed of Trust required that a committee should be set up to manage both the property and the affairs of the club. This committee was to consist of the four appointed trustees, plus six members who were to be nominated by the Staveley Coal and Iron Company (or its successors in business), and a further six to be appointed by a method of the trustees choosing; a total of sixteen in all.

The War Memorial Plaque

The bodies of many of the casualties killed in the Great War were never found and families who had no grave to visit wanted somewhere to mourn and leave flowers.  Families were invited to put forward the names of those killed for inclusion on a simple plaque, or tablet, which was fixed to the external wall at the front of the club.

The names of 55 men from the Barrow Hill area, which then included Hollingwood, were inscribed. The name of Fred Whittaker was originally omitted and added in 1921, although not in alphabetical order. By the time that the memorial plaque was erected, the families of some casualties had left the area and, to date, a further 19 casualties have been identified whose names are not on the memorial.

The club accounts show that, in 1928, the Club Committee added a stone fender below the plaque where relatives could leave flowers. It cost £8.15s.7d. [15]

Remembrance Day parades and services took place at the War Memorial plaque every year. A cutting from a 1959 works magazine, “Staveley News,” shows the Staveley Company’s security officer, P. C. Andrew, attending his 25th consecutive Remembrance Day parade at Barrow Hill.

Club PC Andrews

After WW2, the plaque was cut into several pieces and riveted back together to allow for the names of 9 men who died in that conflict to be added. The names of 17 Hollingwood men were inscribed on a new memorial at the Elders in 1957. A further 5 local casualties, whose names are not on either memorial, have been identified to date.

Club Parade 1956

The memorial and garden were restored and re-dedicated by the Friends of St Andrew’s (F.O.S.T.A.) in 2014 to commemorate the centenary of the Great War.

Club Jacqueline Wood 1952

Club Jacqueline Wood 2014

Jacqueline Wood: 1952 and 2014

The Terrace

The Terrace was the name given to the 3 manager’s villas built in 1863 on the lower half of the hill. [16]  Two of these villas were demolished in 1978. The British Steel Corporation sold off sections of Staveley Works and its holdings in the 1970’s and a conveyance document, dated 10 May 1979, transferred ownership of the land and the one remaining villa to Barrow Hill Memorial Club.

The Club has been identified as a heritage asset in the Barrow Hill Conservation area and still stands as the memorial to the fallen. It has been extended significantly over the years, particularly to the rear, to meet the ever changing needs of the village community as decreed by the trust. It has been the scene of village events and family celebrations, the meeting place of local community groups and societies, the home of both indoor and outdoor sports clubs, the provider of entertainment and much more. It has served the community for over 150 years since it was built, and almost 100 years after it was gifted to the people of the village.

©Ann Lucas

Click here   to hear the story of the Barrow Hill Memorial Club – told by relatives of the men whose names are inscribed on the memorial plaque.

BBC radio WW1

[1] See also “The Building of Barrow Hill: The Model Village” Ann Lucas
[2] Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald: 24th October 1863
[3] Ibid
[4] Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald: 2nd April 1864
[5] 1911 England Census
[6] The original number 10 still exists on the small door by the fire escape
[7] Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald: 9th December 1865
[8] Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald: 6th April 1912
[9] Derbyshire Courier: 3rd May 1919
[10] Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald: 31st January 1920
[11] Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald: 31st January 1920
[12] Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald: 31st  January 1920
[13] Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald: 31st May 1924
[14] Conyeyance/Trust Deed: 1924
[15] Barrow Hill Memorial Club Accounts, 1925,1926,1929   D3808/2/107/1-3
[16] See also “The Building of Barrow Hill: Station Road” Ann Lucas