Special ceremony to be held in village for war centenary

Mike Gowland and Bill Bland at Thropton War Memorial Hall.
Mike Gowland and Bill Bland at Thropton War Memorial Hall.

A Northumberland village hall erected as a memorial to the First World War is hosting a special rededication ceremony this summer to mark the centenary of the start of the conflict.

As its name suggests, Thropton War Memorial Hall is in fact a tribute to those who fought and died during the Great War.

On Sunday, August 3 – Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914 – memorial plaques removed from the defunct Thropton United Reformed Church are being placed in the memorial hall and rededicated in a service conducted by the Reverend Michael Boag.

This ceremony, which is to take place at noon, will be preceded by a march along Thropton’s main street by the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band accompanied by a band of Durham Air Training Corps (ATC) cadets.

A similar event took place at the opening of the hall in December, 1924, 90 years ago.

The dedication ceremony will be followed by tea and cakes in the hall where there will be a display of First World War artefacts.

The hall was built after the First World War as a memorial to the war dead, thanks to a gift from the then Lord Armstrong.

A contemporary newspaper report described the grand occasion of its opening: ‘It is a hall which has been a work of love throughout, contributed to freely and spontaneously by rich and poor alike.

‘It is a beautiful monument, but its greatest beauty is not its architecture but the spirit of the people which has produced the hall’.

In 2009, an extension including a meeting room, showers and a kitchen, was built thanks to financial support from the then Alnwick District Council and April last year marked the end of four years of renovation works.