Around the Village: Acton Bridge Parish Rooms
|The Parish Rooms (our Village Hall) are run by a management committee for the
Acton Bridge Community Association, which is a charitable trust.
This is where the Parish Council meets, usually on the first Monday in the month, and the Women's Institute meets on the second Tuesday. Several other organisations regularly use the Parish Rooms, and there are tennis courts and an all-weather bowling green behind. The village celebrated the Centenary of its Parish Rooms on 8. May 2009 - see the Centenary Information page for more details, or scroll down this page for some history.
For more details and news of forthcoming events in the village, please visit the ABCA and Women's Institute home pages, our What's New page, and the various organisations listed on our Site Directory and Links pages.
The rooms were extensively refurbished during 2011, with funding from WREN, a not for profit business that awards grants to community environmental and heritage projects across the UK. The funds are donated by Waste Recycling Group (WRG) as part of the Landfill Communities Fund. The photo below shows the exterior, newly cleaned by ABCA volunteers, and this year's Begonias, planted and maintained by a kind resident.
History of the Parish Rooms
The owners of the land on which the Parish Room was to be built were William Milner of Chateau d'Isques, Pont de Briques in the Department of Pas de Calais in the Republic of France, and Reginald Ernest Dennis Milner of Sutton Cottage Hounslow in the County of Middlesex, a Captain in His Majesty's Army. They appear to have 'given' The Council of the Parish of Acton in the Ecclesiastical Parish of Weaverham, a piece or parcel of land, upon which the building intended to be used as and for the purposes of a Parish Room by the Parishioners had been built. The land, 332 square yards, together with the building was conveyed to the Council for the benefit of the residents of Acton in perpetuity.
The Council levied a rate of 6d from ratepayers over just one year so that there would be no debt, which raised over £200. The architect, Mr N. Gandy, drew up plans, and Messrs Dickinson & Noden from Winsford were approved as builders.
According to documents, the land and buildings for the Parish Room were not conveyed until the 3rd May 1909, immediately prior to the official opening of the Parish Room by Sir John Brunner MP on Saturday 8th May. This was described as an event of great importance in the history of Acton by the report in the Northwich Guardian of the day. It was a beautiful sunny day, and although the villagers went to great lengths to decorate the village with bunting, the report said that "nature provided the most delightful aspect. The trees were in full bloom and everything had donned its spring garb". Sir John Brunner, who was presented with a silver key with which to open the new hall, spoke of his delight at visiting Acton, and said it was one of the most momentous days of his life (he had just returned from a ceremony in Liverpool, where he had been awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law by the University).
Mr William Hough of Wall Hill Farm addressed the gathering. Mr Hough suggested that not only should the room be used as a Council chamber and for public meetings, but as a place where the football and cricket teams could meet, especially in the winter months. Sir John replied by saying that he hoped the room would be used by girls as well as boys and that there might even be dances, wedding receptions and other festivities. He said that the dearest wish in his heart was that the hall might tend to their happiness and welfare. He recommended that the room might be used as a library, and handed over a cheque for £50 towards books. After the official procedures, a concert was given by Runcorn and Widnes Glee Society (a Society for singing part songs), which was much enjoyed by all.
The room has always been used as a Polling Station for Elections, and soon became the focus of village life, with many uses. The billiard table was installed in 1920, after a trip in a horse and cart by John Allan to Manchester. The driver left 4.00 am and returned at 11.00 pm - he obviously liked his billiards!
The Acton Bridge Community Association was formed in 1947 (originally as Acton Parish CA), to administer the rooms for the Parish Council. It is hoped that the ABCA Newsletter will be published on this website in due course.
Local resident and architect Riaz Afzal designed the new extension, completed in 1983. The tennis courts opened in the spring of 1995, followed by the three-lane all-weather bowling green.
You can read a transcript of an article from The Chronicle which describes the original opening of the Parish Room on the Centenary Page.
Adapted from "Snapshots in Time", a book about the Village published by the Acton Bridge WI to mark the Millennium in 2000
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