Brief History of the Leverstock Green Parish Trust & its links with LGVA and  the present Village Hall

The name Parish Trust can be confusing as the Trust is neither a church organization, nor does it relate to the present  ecclesiastical Parish of Chambersbury - but to the ecclesiastical parish of Leverstock Green as of  19th April 1920, there not being then or at any time a civil parish of Leverstock Green.  Instead it owes its name and its area of benefit to an earlier Charitable Trust called The Leverstock Green Parish Hall Trust, which was constituted by deed dated April 19th 1920.  The present Parish Trust came into being officially on 25th March 1992 under a Scheme approved and established by the Charity Commissioners for England & Wales as the Scheme for the regulation of the said Parish Hall Trust.  Although not a church organization, at the present time the majority of Trustees are regular members of Holy Trinity church; this is due in part to the terms of the original deed of 1920 which appointed the Vicar and Churchwardens as ex-officio trustees.

The original Parish Hall Trust had its origins still earlier in 1904 when a committee was established (with the Vicar the Rev. Durrant as Chairman) to raise money in order to purchase land and have built a parish (in the sense of a geographical area) or Village Hall.  At the time the only public meeting place in Leverstock Green was the schoolroom in Bedmond Road and the various pubs such as the Leather Bottle. Although the committee was largely comprised of members of Holy Trinity, it also included members from the Baptist Church.  The committee organized concerts, plays, music hall entertainment's, bring and buy stalls and the annual village fete (the first being held Whit Monday 1905) to raise money to help build a hall for ALL Leverstock Green residents.  Everyone in the community took part in raising funds, and many friends from Apsley and Hemel Hempstead were also involved in the various fundraising activities.

In July 1907 the Parish Hall committee applied and was given consent for "  the erection by them of a new parish hall on waste land in the parish of St,.Michael Rural adjoining the main road from St. Albans to Hemel Hempstead ......provided it is placed at a distance not less than 60 feet from the fencing on the opposite side of the St. Albans Road."   The Rev. Durrant's son was an architect and drew up plans for a suitable building - however, despite the moneys raised etc. nothing concrete was established by the outbreak of the first World War. Eventually at the cost of £100 from the money raised over the previous eleven years,  a plot of land at the corner of Pancake Lane and the main road was purchased from John Knox Hart of Leverstock Green Farm in February 1915.  This land was transferred by deed to Trustees specifically  " with the object of providing a building to be used as a Parish Room or Hall by the inhabitants of the said Parish without distinction of creed".  By the end of the war it was decided that the hall - when it materialised - should be a memorial hall for those who were killed during the war.   This was however, later altered as our present war memorial was commissioned.

By the beginning of 1919, with building costs soaring and following the effects of the war, it was decided that rather than wait for sufficient funds to be raised to build a stone or brick hall, an ex-army hut  could be purchased and erected on the site to provide a hall. Accordingly deeds were drawn up  to form a Trust to maintain and administer the Hall. Originally it was to have been called  "The Leverstock Green War Memorial Trust":, but before its sealing on 19th April 1920, it was changed to the Leverstock Green Parish Hall Trust.  The Leverstock Green Parish Hall was officially opened on 31st December 1920. This hall was to serve the community well for the next forty years.

In the early 1960's with the development of the New Town talk of a new hall for Leverstock Green began. Leverstock Green Village Association was founded in 1962 (by Fred Buglass) to act as a voice for the whole community in this and other matters and discussions began with the Charity Commissioners with respect to the original trust. By 1967 they had declared they were not prepared to take over the Parish Hall Trust as there was no obstacle to the deeds being transferred to another Trust serving the same objects as the then Parish Hall. However they agreed the  original site could be sold and the money used to build on a new site.  The trustees having decided they could not fully fund a new hall, and following discussions with the Local Authority, it was finally agreed that Hemel Corporation would build a new hall and lease it to the new LGVA .  It would cost £30,000, £5000 of which would be contributed by Leverstock Green Village Association.  LGVA had compiled a report and had plans drawn up which were submitted to the Hemel Corporation and the  Development Corporation. Unfortunately despite the agreement to build a new hall, government cuts coupled with the fact the Leverstock Green was deemed already to have a hall (if somewhat decrepit by this time) meant it was put on the back burner.

By 1968 the old hall was officially declared unsatisfactory for public entertainment and lettings were only allowed to local organizations for meetings.  In 1971 the old hall caught fire, but was eventually repaired after difficulty with the insurance company.  Again in 1971 the go ahead was given to build a new hall, but following further Government cuts Hemel only had sufficient money for one community hall and Highfield's Hall was built rather than Leverstock Green's.

In 1973 a decision to build a new hall was again agreed, at a cost of £70,000.  This time within a month the building firm contracted to undertake the job went into voluntary liquidation and new tenders were requested.  Finally  a tender for £100,000 was accepted - though the plans were not as per 1962.  The hall eventually officially opened in July 1974, but was not used  after the official festival week until October of that year. All the lettings from the Parish Hall were transferred to the new hall in December 1974.  The last meeting of Parish Hall Trustees for over ten  years was held in January 1975.

The original Parish Hall, was virtually falling to pieces and  broken into and vandalized on a number of occasions.  It was finally decided to dismantle the building; this took place in 1980 with no recoverable materials.

On March 10th 1985 a public meeting of the Parish Hall Trust was held at which it was agreed to  sell the Pancake Lane site with outline planning permission and to transfer the Parish Hall Trust Deed to the Leverstock Green Village Association.  The money from the sale of the site to be used for the "purchase of  new hall, extension of hew hall and any other costs of maintaining or alteration.."  The land was eventually sold in 1987 for £281,000 and the moneys raised suitably invested for the future.

After lengthy correspondence with the Charity Commissioners, the Commissioners eventually agreed to the scheme creating a new Trust which is now in force, rather than transferring the deeds to LGVA. This created a new Charitable Trust, the Leverstock Green Parish Trust.  A full copy of the scheme is available  if you wish to see it in the library and also in the office.

Essentially the scheme laid down that the area of benefit was to be the same as the original Trust, namely the Ecclesiastical Parish of Holy Trinity Leverstock Green as constituted on 19th April 1920.  The application of the income from the trust was to be : " (1) Subject to payment of the expenses aforesaid the Trustees shall apply the income in making payments to the Committee of the Charity called the Leverstock Green Village Association to be applied by that Committee in or towards the maintenance and repair of the Village Hall in the possession or ownership of that Charity or in making payments to the Trustees or Committee or any other hall established in replacement for or succession thereto that is held upon charitable trusts similar to  those of the said Village Hall to be applied by such Trustees or Committee in like manner.  (2) If and in so far as income is not required for application in manner aforesaid the Trustees may apply the same for such charitable purposes for the general benefit of the inhabitants of the area of benefit as the Trustees from time to time think fit."     The Schedule of investments totaled  £446,998.78 up to 2nd March 1992. 

Fred Buglass got involved with the Parish Hall Trust almost as soon as he moved to Leverstock Green in 1953.  Initially he was on the  management committee, becoming their Treasurer in 1955.  However he was not elected as a full Trustee until August 1957.   He was asked to be  Chairman of the Parish Trust in August 1961 by virtue of his then chairmanship of the parish hall management committee, and his close association  with the new proposals for the future development of the hall.  Previously the incumbent of Holy Trinity had held the chair. Fred held this position until the Trusts disbanding, and he was appointed a Trustee of the new Parish Trust of which he was in turn appointed Chairman -  a position he held until a few months before his death.  He  founded the LGVA in 1962, and was Chairman for much of the last 37 years.  He was also made Honorary Life President.
Barbara Chapman,  1st May 1999   
This page was last updated on: April 11, 2009
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