Transcription from Monmouthshie Beacon dated Friday January 7 1921
VILLAGE HALL FOR CATBROOK
FORMAL OPENING SPEECH BY MR. LEOLIN FORESTIER-WALKER, M.P.
Thursday December 30th, was an important day in the remote and scattered district of Catbrook. The new village hall was formally opened by Mr. Leolin Forestier-Walker, M.P. As expected the gathering was a large and animated one.
The hall has been erected as a memorial to the men from Catbrook who made the supreme sacrifice in the war and will be a boon to the residents in the district. It is a commodious building, and should prove of much advantage in the organisation of concerts, whist drives and similar social functions. The building has been erected on a piece of land very kindly given for the purpose by Mr. Rupert Richards, and it was built by direct labour under the supervision of Mr. M. H. Moulton. Its erection was made possible by the opening of a subscription list in the district, by means of which a substantial portion of the cost has already been raised, and it is hoped to soon to clear off the remainder by means of concerts, etc., in the hall itself.
The hall measures 54ft. by 42ft., these dimensions including a roomy stage and a commodious ante-room. The management of the hall has been entrusted to a large and representative committee of which Mr. T. Morris Davies is the chairman, Mr M.H. Moulton, the secretary, and Mr. Rupert Richards the treasurer.
At the opening ceremony the chair was occupied by Mr. T Morris Davies, who was supported by Mr. L. Forestier- Walker, M.P., the Revs. D.H. Griffiths (Newport), T. Davies (Vicar of Trellech), and F. Sims Clapp (Chepstow), Councillor Peter Wright (Ex-Mayor of Newport), Capt. H. G. Tyler, and Mr T.L. Pugh (Tintern). Col C. Curre C.B.E. was unable to attend.
The Chairman said that that was a great day for Catbrook and district and they were fortunate that Mr. L. Forestier-Walker, M.P. had been able to find time to come down the opening ceremony. They were also pleased to have Mr. Peter Wright with them. The hall would be a lasting memorial to those from the district who had fallen in the war. It would provide a social centre which was a great want in that part of the Parish. They were deeply indebted to Mr. Rupert Richards for his gift of the land.
Mr. L. Forestier-Walker commenced his remarks by saying humorously that that meeting was a much more unanimous one than any he had previously remembered there (Laughter). The hall would be the apple of their eye. It would be first of all to commemorate the fallen, but there was something greater than that and that was to commemorate the return of those who had come back. Much as they had to be sorrowful over those who had gone they had a far greater duty to think of and that was in relation to those who had returned (Applause). After all those who had gone were much better off if only they knew it, and those who had returned they had to make as well off as possible. They had in that hall a place of real social value and of religious value if they cared to make it so. The male and female element would be able to make equal use of it. He hoped the value of the place would be realized by the people living there. The male and female element would be able to meet together and get to understand one another much better. He had much pleasure in declaring the hall open and hoped it would be of lasting value and use in the district (Applause).
ADDRESS BY MR. PETER WRIGHT
A short and inspiring address was given by Mr. Peter Wright, who said that at the present time we were passing through a great crisis and there was an opportunity to create a great future. We must be willing to dedicate our manhood and womanhood for the purpose of creating a superstructure upon the foundation laid by the bodies of those who had died and bring about that which he desired to see—the Kingdom of God on Earth. They must create a better world for the purpose of creating greater men, women and children. There was a tendency at the present time to be pessimistic, but he was an optimist and had always been one. The darkest hour always came before the dawn. Although things were black all around we had nothing to fear because there was no nation under the sun where the difficulties were less acute that they were in Great Britain. They in Great Britain were resolute, stand fast and cautious and a bloody revolution was impossible in the country because they had too much commonsense and experience. A mental revolution was, however, taking place in the country, and it was felt we could not go back to the conditions that prevailed before the war.
AN ACTIVE IDEAL
The spirit of unrest was a healthy sign and would be the means of unwinding and unbinding that new birth that could not be brought into existence unless it passed through the terrible agonies of labour pains. He hoped the hall would be of great use in helping them to create better men and women and permeate them with an ideal which might be imaginary to-day but which would become really active in the future. (Applause).
A hearty vote of thanks to Mr. Forestier-Walker and Councillor Peter Wright was proposed by the4 vicar of Trelleck (the Rev, T. Davies), who said that Mr. Forestier- Walker was a member of one of the noblest and most illustrious families in the County. He was only acting up to the traditions of that family in coming there that afternoon.
The vote was seconded by Captain Tyler and carried the applause.
Both Mr. Forestier- Walker and Councillor Peter Wright briefly responded, and the latter asked the vicar to accept a gift of twelve books with which to start the village library.
A vote of thanks was accorded the Chairman, on the proposition of the Rev. D. H. Griffiths (Vicar of St. Woolos, Newport) seconded by Mr Charles Morgan.
The Chairman responded.
BAZAAR AND CONCERT
A bazaar was held subsequently to the opening ceremony, the hall being filled with a variety of well arranged and tastefully decorated stalls. A concert was held in the evening, followed by a dance.
The stallholders were:--
Presents stall: Miss Woodward, Misses Gladys Edwards and Gladys Harris. Mrs Bull.
Jumble stall: Mrs Fred Williams and Mrs E. Meredith.
Produce stall: Mrs F.G. Sparrow and Mrs B.W. Franklin.
Woollen stall: Mrs W. Howells and Mrs V, Earlstone.
Sewing stall: Mrs Wedlake and Mrs Voyce
Book and cigarette stall: Misses Rose Edwards and Gladys Wood.
Chocolate stall: Mr. Stanley Roberts.
Fancy stall, toys, etc. Misses Mary Moulton and Elsie Watkins.
Bran tub: Misses Winnie Voyce and Dorothy Phillips.
Baby’s stall: Mrs Rupert Richards.
Tea: Mesdames J. Jones, H. Parker, C. Morgan, W. Williams, M.H. Moulton, E.A. Roberts, J. Sterry, M. Watkins S. Brown and A. Crum; Misses Dorothy and Alatheo Parker, Laura Jones, Lizzie Williams, May Morgan, Elsie Phillips, Florence Richards, Violet Howells, and Sarah Williams.
Draws for the photo frame, doll, and cushion. Mr Nelson Watkins. Winners photo frame Mr Fed Sadler, doll, Mr Christopher Palmer, cushion, Miss Kate Morgan.
Tea helpers: Messrs. Tom and Tom Evans, Horace Watkins, James Jones, Albert Watkins and G. Woodward.
Mr T. Morris Davies presided over the concert when the following contributed to the programme:- Misses Gladys Edwards, ? Woodward, K. Morgan, Rose Edwards, Gladys Wood, Dr. Hanham and Part. Messrs. Frank Wheeler, W. Wheeler, ? Roberts, and S. Roberts.
After the concert Mr. Alfred Davies conducted an auction sale of surplus produce stall.
The hall was then cleared for dancing from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., Mr T.F. Edwards al filling the duties of M.C., and the music was supplied by piano, Misses Gladys and Rose Edwards and May Morgan; violin Mr Higgins, Chepstow. A splendid programme had been arranged and the floor was in ideal condition. The programme consisted of the following dances: Lancers, Quadrille, King’s Waltz, Ladbrooke, Onestep, Florentine, Ozaret, Progressive Barn Dance, Maxins etc. An enjoyable time was spent there being about 150 people present at the dance. A pleasant evening terminated a successful day.
Please note transcripted by Peter Garwood and Linda Sladek - January 2008.
Note: Sir Charles Leolin Forestier-Walker was Conservative M.P. for Monmouth in 1918 -1934 until his death in 1934.