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Maintaining Breamish Hall in the 21st Century

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As we moved into the 21st century, new social, political, and economic structures imposed fresh demands on village halls: the need to ensure inclusivity, easy access for all members of the community, modern health and safety standards, safeguarding of children and vulnerable people, music and performance licencing, the demand for internet access… The list seemed endless!

No major improvements had been made to the Breamish Hall since it opened in 1974. Consequently, the building needed repairing and upgrading to satisfy new legislation and to remain fit for purpose.

2006 Refurbishment

In 2006 the Breamish Hall Committee applied to over 10 funding bodies, including the National Lottery Community Fund. In total, they received £40,000 in grant money. The bids for funding received written support from several users and user groups, thereby demonstrating the importance of the village hall to the local community.

Letters of support received in 2005

The money was used to install new windows, toilets (including disabled access toilet), and a commercial-grade stainless steel kitchen. In addition, a new entrance was created from the kitchen into the Large Hall extension at the back of the building (built 1973-1974). This allowed food to be served directly from the kitchen to large groups using the hall for birthday parties, wedding parties, and similar.

2009-2010 Ceilings and walls

Ceiling and walls problems

In January 2009, the walls of the Breamish Hall started to bow and the hall needed to be closed, as the ceiling was in danger of collapsing.

Photo of damaged village hall walls (exterior)
Walls of Large Hall needed extensive repairs January 2009 [Ref: BVPC0466]
Photo of interior walls of village hall under repair
Interior view of Large Hall walls under repair January 2009 [Ref: BVPC0465]

2011 Roof

Photo of Breamish Hall with scaffolding on gable wall
Scaffolding in place for roof repairs 2011 [Ref: BVPC0506]

Over the winter of 2011 the roofs above the toilets and store cupboards started leaking. The Breamish Hall Committee sourced funding to carry out substantial work. Rule & Son (Roofing Consultants in Alnwick) carried out the work at a cost of £13,321. The work was completed in December 2012.

The repairs included work to the rear of the slate roof area of what was the old Co-op store. This was stripped and replaced with new breathable underlay, tantalised laths, slates, and re-bedded with the existing ridge. Behind this, the three pitched slate roofs above the toilet area required similar repair, including replacing the valley gutters with new ‘Code 5’ lead. Final repairs were to the flat roof area above the storeroom. This was stripped to the decking and re-covered in three-ply high-performance torch-on green mineral surface felt.

The major funders were: the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Carr-Ellison Family Charitable Trust, Northumberland County Council Members’ Local Improvement Schemes (via Councillor John Taylor), the Duncan and Sarah Davidson Fund and The Joicey Trust. In addition, the Breamish Hall Committee raised funds through a series of local events.

2016 Small Hall floor and kitchen improvements

Photo showing raised floor and floor joists
Removing old floor 2016 [Ref: BVPC0512]
Photo showing newly laid wooden floor in village hall
The new floor 2016 [Ref: BVPC0507]

Further information

Button image with photo of village hall floor
Floor Refurbishment 2016 (PDF)

2018 Car park and refurbishment

By 2018, the main safety issue for the Breamish Hall was the state of the car park. Over the years it had deteriorated and needed resurfacing.

Photo of damaged access road to car park
Damaged car park access 2018 [Ref: BVPC0513]

The car park was repaired by North East Concrete at a cost of £22,742.40.

Colour photo of tarmac on re-surfaced car park
Re-surfaced car park 2018 [Ref: BVPC0514]

At the same time as the car park was being repaired, additional refurbishments to Breamish Hall were carried out. Suspended ceilings with integrated lights were mounted inside both the large and small halls. The large hall was decorated, including sanding, and revarnishing the floor, and installing blinds throughout. A wheelchair ramp was installed, and automatic sensor lights were fixed in the toilets. LED lights were fitted in the kitchen, corridor, and office. In addition, six new tables and an LED projector were purchased.

The major funders were: the National Lottery Community Fund, the Carr-Ellison Family Charitable Trust, Northumberland National Park Communities Fund, Northumberland County Council Members’ Local Improvement Schemes (via Councillor Wendy Pattison), The Percy Hedley 1990 Charitable Trust, The Rothley Trust, The Breamish Hall, Powburn.

Further information

Button image with photo of resurfaced car park
Refurbishment 2018 [PDF]

2019 Cooker installation

A cooker and wall-mounted extraction canopy were installed at a cost of £6,254.40.

The major funders were: Innogy Renewables UK (Middlemoor Wind Farm Community Fund), the Hadrian Trust, Hedgeley Women’s Institute, The Rothley Trust, The Breamish Hall, Powburn.

Button image showing photo of electric oven
Cooker Installation 2019 [PDF]

2021 Gable end cladding

In June 2021 new shiplap cladding was installed on the exterior gable end of the Large Hall.

Photo of shiplap cladding on gable end of village hall
Shiplap cladding fitted June 2021 [Ref: BVPC0508]

2022 Garden-side cladding

In May 2022 the shiplap cladding on the exterior side of the Large Hall that faces the garden was renewed.

Photo of shiplap cladding on side of village hall
Shiplap cladding fitted May 2022 [Ref: BVPC0509]
Photo of shiplap cladding fitted to side wall of a village hall
Breamish Hall shiplap cladding fitted October 2022 [Ref: BVPC0526]


NB: Dates in (brackets) indicate the year when the images were first shared with either the Breamish Valley Photographic Collection or the Breamish Hall Heritage Project and, therefore, the date when permission to use the images was granted.

  • Header image: BVPC0515 Graham Williamson personal collection (2016)
  • BVPC0466: May Wilson personal collection (2022)
  • BVPC0465: May Wilson personal collection (2022)
  • BVPC0506: Graham Williamson personal collection (2022)
  • BVPC0512: May Wilson personal collection (2016)
  • BVPC0507: Graham Williamson personal collection (2016)
  • BVPC0513: May Wilson personal collection (2018)
  • BVPC0514: Graham Williamson personal collection (2018)
  • BVPC0508: Graham Williamson personal collection (2022)
  • BVPC0509: Graham Williamson personal collection (2022)
  • BVPC0526: Graham Williamson personal collection (2022)

Can you help?

Can you tell us more about the history of the Breamish Hall in Powburn? Spotted any errors, any missing information? Or do you know anything that we don’t? Do you have any related photos or documents? If you have information to share, please use the contact form. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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