The land the village hall is built on was a gift from Edward Littleton Vaughan. Edward was a great benefactor to the village of Eton Wick and was known affectionately as 'Toddy' Vaughan. The hall was first known as 'The Institute' and was opened on January 22nd 1907, the commemorative stone in the porch having been laid by Mr Vaughan on Friday November 16th 1906.
A brief ceremony attended by a gathering of parishioners and invited guests ended with the singing of '0 God our help in ages past' by the village school children. The evening entertainment on the day was given by Mr EMS Pilkington, the architect of the building, entitled 'The amusements of a London Boy' and illustrated with lantern slides.
The purpose of the Institute was to provide recreation for men and boys and to encourage fellowship. However, within the year the women and girls of the village let it be known that they were disappointed at being excluded.
By December, due to the influence and kindness of Mr Vaughan, the situation was remedied,and the formation of a Women's and girls club was formed. Girls over thirteen years of age could become members on payment of one penny per week and one shilling per quarter, allowing them to participate in gymnastics, dancing, sewing classes etc. Originally the upstairs room was for gymnastics with the billiard tables on the ground floor. This caused some inconvenience as the vaulting and jumping brought flakes of whitewash down from the ceiling onto the tables.
Over the years several village concert parties have performed in the hall, including a Minstrel Troop in the 1920's, and variety groups named the Shoestrings and the Unity Players post World War II.The hall was enlarged in 1929 and further extensions were made in the post war years. Duringthe early years of World War II the hall became the school for the evacuees billeted in Eton Wick.
Today the ground floor of the hall is used by the County library service and the Youth club, whilst the two rooms upstairs are used by village organisations for various activities. The hall benefitted from a major refurbishment during the summer of 2010, and included air conditioning, new fire alarm system, lighting and complete redecoration throughout.
Acknowledgement-The above text and the pictures below have been adapted from the Eton Wick History Group website.
Eton Wick Village Hall - 1907
Edward Littleton Vaughan