This way for Bums and Tums! The discreet charm of the village hall

Bleak, bulky yet strangely beautiful, village halls are the beating heart of rural Britain, where great events happen for £8 an hour. We meet a photographer celebrating these harmonious hubs A row of karate kids are performing mawashi geri kicks in unison to the cries of their teacher. Coincidentally, in the room next door, the Brownies are learning first aid. The next morning, a gaggle of pensioners arrive and are soon waltzing to wartime classics. Then, by the afternoon, a jumble sale is in full swing. One week later, dozens of people are queuing up to vote, hot on the heels of a neighbourhood forum discussing a contentious planning application. These are just a few moments in the life of a humble village hall. More than any other building type, the village hall represents the ultimate multifunctional democratic space. It is a forum for raffles, cake sales, birthday parties, fitness classes, political meetings and more – a witness, as Jethro Marshall puts it, “to great human events – mostly for around £8 per hour”. Absent of the life that sustains them, village halls have become haunting symbols of a time when we could congregate With many taking on new life as hubs for aid networks in the pandemic, they remain radical spaces of social connection Continue reading...

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