Harold Wood community celebrates 100th anniversary of memorial hall
PUBLISHED: 16:22 10 October 2019
Residents in Harold Wood came together to celebrate 100 years since the opening of the Harold Wood War Memorial.
The Harold Wood Memorial Hall at the corner of Gubbins Way and Holdbrook Way was first opened by Edward Bryant on November 15, 1919.
Treasurer Jim Atkins said: "The hall started in 1919 when the people of Harold Wood decided they didn't just want a memorial but a living memorial to people who died during the First World War.
"The hall was owned by Mr Bryant. The residents did a collection and then they went to the owner with the funds. "Mr Bryant then became the first president of the hall.
"It was originally set up as a charity."
The deputy mayor of Havering, councillor John Mylod, joined residents and community members who hold activities in the hall to celebrate the hall's 100th anniversary on Saturday, October 5.
Organisations such as Singing for the Brain, the Harold Wood yoga, short mat bowling and theatre groups also attended the celebration.
Jim told the Recorder: "It was a very good day. We had a great turnout.
"Once a year we remember Armistice Day in conjunction with St Peter's Church in Gubbins Lane.
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"At least 200 people attended last year's event.
"Over the years we've made improvements to the kitchen, the disabled toilets and we had a new ceiling put in."
The chairwoman of the memorial hall is now Joan Scarsbrook Bird.
With various lottery grants the volunteers have been able to keep the memorial going.
Speaking about why he first joined as a volunteer 23 years ago, Jim said he likes to see people enjoy themselves while continuing to remember those who died during the war.
Outside the memorial is a plaque with names of 26 soldiers and civilians from Harold Wood who lost their lives during the First World War.
The treasurer added: "I think it is a very important part of history and it's a worthwhile thing to put your time into. There are about 70 members who are part of the team.
"100 years is a long time and it's all completely voluntary."