New Hall

New Hall - built in 1976 with Building Appeal money


When the Cecil Place building was being planned, and it was going to house the Art Department, Miss Clarke's first thought was that in some way the Hall might be enlarged by extending it into the Art Studio next door. But a better plan was soon put forward - that of building a new large hall/gymnasium. In this plan, the Art Studio would form the stage of the hall.

Since the Trust was funding Cecil Place, a Building Appeal was launched to raise funds for the Hall. Two professional fund-raisers were appointed, one of them living in a caravan on the Dovercourt forecourt. Later, a team of parents took over, and funds were soon pouring in.

The first aim was to provide "a shell with heating and lighting provided. There would be no stage equipment and the finish would be austere. They are considering a wood floor instead of non-slip vinyl." Keeping this floor in good condition resulted in the infamous 'drugget'.

Building started in 1975, bringing with it a time of great disruption, and the final phase of the building appeal got under way with a gala dinner. In all, parents and friends raised more than £87,000.

A gym lesson in New Hall soon after it opened.



The New Hall allowed for an expansion of gym lessons and games of all sorts, and dramatic productions were transformed, with a stage (the old Art Studio) many times larger than that of Old Hall. The first production was 'An Italian Straw Hat' in 1977.


New Hall in 1976. The old Studio forms the stage.


The new Hall was built on stilts specifically to save playground space, and had the advantage of providing a shady area for recreation.


Cecil Place science building was built in the same year.

The back of the Hall showing the sweet chestnut tree and the end of the huts.

In 1976 there was a gala opening of the New Hall and the Cecil Place laboratories, by Princess Alice.


The interior of the Hall at present, with the walls plastered and with other improvements.