History of Burnham Green Village Hall

The Burnham Green Village Hall building was erected in 1843 as a school with funds raised by subscription for children in the four parishes of Welwyn, Datchworth, Digswell and Tewin.  Earl Cowper and the Rectors of the four parishes were trustees and formed the Board of Management.  We still have copies of the original deed of transfer in village archives.

William Williamson, Rector of Datchworth recorded some early history of the school from which we know:

  • the first Mistress was a Mrs Mary Campkin who died in 1851
  • she was succeeded by Mrs Turner who resigned in February 1863
  • she was succeeded by Miss Bairstow, a trained and certificated Mistress who, finding the place “too dull”, resigned after 7 weeks she was succeeded by Miss Bell, who also resigned.
  • Mary Ann Wade became the new teacher on 11 October 1863.  She refused to be a teacher in a Government school and came to Burnham Green “from indignation at the treatment of mistresses under the revised code”. She was paid the princely sum of 20 shillings a year.  Following excellent progress in organising the school (after so many resignations) her salary was raised to 25 shillings.

The main hall was the classroom and the head teacher lived in the remainder of the building.

  • There was another entrance door to the front of the building which led to stairs following a slightly different route from now.
  • What is now the disabled toilet was the Schoolmistress’s kitchen
  • What is now the kitchen was her living room
  • The two upper rooms were bedrooms.
  • There used to be a fireplace in what is now the kitchen below the serving hatch
  • There used to be a fireplace in the main hall halfway along the back wall.

When the school closed around 1929, the building was used as a Mission Church for a number of years.  The building was purchased from the St Albans Diocesan Board of Finance by village residents in 1953 and was thereafter used as a Village Hall in accordance with the terms of the 1953 conveyance.  However, church influence continued and Sunday School was held in the Hall well into the 1960’s.  The Hall is now a registered charity and continues to serve the needs of local residents.