Time capsule buried to mark refurbishment of Northumberland village hall

A time capsule has been buried during the refurbishment of a Northumberland village hall.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 4:32 pm

Anne and Jack Ross were given the honour of burying the capsule under the new flooring of the Hindmarsh Hall in Alnmouth.

Anne has lived in the village all her life and her father was the last fisherman to work out of Alnmouth, while Jack was a mining engineer born near Amble.

They have been involved with the Hindmarsh Hall since the 1960s from helping to bring electricity to the building and installing a new bar to scrubbing the old floor.

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A time capsule has been buried at the Hindmarsh Hall in Alnmouth.

The capsule contained photographs of the upper hall during its renovation, posters of fundraising events organised by trustees and a funding request document prepared to support grant applications.

The Hindmarsh Hall was originally a mid-18th century granary which was converted to a temporary chapel in 1859 by the 4th Duke of Northumberland.

After 20 years of use a new church, St John the Evangelist, was built further up Northumberland Street and the chapel became Alnmouth’s town hall.

In 1937 Leonard King Hindmarsh and Walter Duncan Hindmarsh bought it from the 9th Duke of Northumberland. They gifted it to the village in memory of their father, Henry Hindmarsh (1834 – 1917) who was the son of the village blacksmith, but moved to Birmingham in the 1860s to become a successful businessman.

Anne and Jack Ross burying the time capsule at the Hindmarsh Hall, Alnmouth. Picture: Terry Collinson

Thanks to the Hindmarsh family the town hall became the Hindmarsh Village Hall and has been the centre of village communal life ever since.

However, after 80 years of use, a suspended ceiling under the original pine roof lining, and a new oak dance floor, was completely worn out and subsidence of the outer walls meant it was far from level.

In 2018 the trustees launched the ‘Plank Fund appeal to raise money and thanks to the generous support of village residents and other friends of the hall, over £18,000 was donated, enough to remove the old floor, level up the joists, and lay a new oak floor.

The names of all those who contributed to this appeal were inscribed on parchments by Mike Mavromichaelis, a local calligrapher, to record the gratitude of the trustees and all the village community.

Anne and Jack Ross, centre, with Hindmarsh Hall trustees. Picture: Terry Collinson

At the same time the trustees embarked on an ambitious programme of renovating the rest of the hall and upgrading its facilities, with the work being carried out while the venue was closed for use because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bill Bourne, chairman of the trustees, said that he could not think of two more appropriate people to place the capsule under the floor.

“It has been made possible by the enormous generosity of residents and friends of Alnmouth to the Plank Fund,” he added. “Almost £20,000 has been raised which has not only paid for the flooring but for its installation as well. It is an astonishing achievement by residents of this small village.”

Fellow trustee Elaine Stead said: “For the last 80 years the hall has hosted a wide range of events, meetings, performances, and celebrations.

Contents of the time capsule. Picture: Terry Collinson

“The list is endless: ours is one of the largest village halls in north Northumberland and one of the busiest and we hope this renovation will ensure it continues to be the heart of our community for another 80 years and beyond."

All this was achieved thanks to grants received from the following charitable trusts and other organisations: Alnmouth Burgage Holders, Alnmouth Parish Council, the AONB Partnership, The Barbour Foundation, The Bernard Sunley Foundation, The Catherine Cookson Foundation, The Fenwick Charitable Trust The Foyle Foundation, The Joicey Trust, The National Lottery Community Fund, NCC Community Chest, Northumberland Estates, The Northumberland Freemasons, The Rothley Trust, The Scholefield Trust, The Sir James Knott Trust, Sturton Grange Developments, The William Webster Charitable Trust.

The trustees also thank Tom Batey of Alnmouth who freely gave his expertise and professional experience to manage the entire renovation project.

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