Boldron Community Buildings

Boldron Village Hall

THE first reference to the building of the village hall was a  letter to the Director of Community Service Council at Durham, Mr J W Twenlow on the18 March, 1946, from Mr M Welsh, The Cottage, Boldron who was chairman of the Parish Meeting at that time.  There had originally been a house on the land where the village hall was built and this land was sold to the WI by Mr Thomas Cook for £15 in 1945.  In the early 1940s, the derelict house was used by soldiers from Deerbolt for exercises and there was a lot of old ammunition left around.  The site was the gift of the Boldron Women’s Institute. 

The Teesdale Mercury of 28 February, 1962 included an article headed ‘Work Starts on Boldron Village Hall’ and says that ‘work has now commenced on the new village hall at Boldron. The contract is in the hands of a firm of Darlington builders and the architect in charge of the construction is Mr John Lawton, ERICA, of Barnard Castle.The estimated cost of the hall, plus equipment, is approximately £4,000, and the Ministry of Education have approved a 50 per cent grant towards this. 

Instead of an official laying of the foundation stone, everyone had the opportunity to put their name on a brick and lay it in the foundations for a donation to the fund.  A footnote to the article in the Teesdale Mercury about this ceremony said: ‘It is understood that there is no extra charge for the cement and that for the inexperienced, the foreman builder will be available to assist when needed and he will supervise so that bricks are properly laid’. The first and second bricks were laid by the oldest in the village, Mrs Bradbury, and the youngest, Catherine Lawton.  One fund-raising idea was a farm open day with teas, stalls and sheep dog trials.  Whist drives were also held to raise funds — in various places, including outside if the weather was good.

By the Year 2000 the Village Hall was getting dated with no hot water and poor insulation and heating and there was another big fund raising effort made the Parish which included garden open days, car boot sales, the publication of a local history booklet and grant applications were made to a number of funding bodies.  This was successful and the Village Hall was completely re-modelled and updated.

In 2013 the Parish received a grant and it was decided that a stone seat would be commissioned to be sited in front of the Village Hall.  It was made and installed by a local stonemasons - P & S Coverdale Masonry Contractors and is used regularly during events such as Boldron Sports and village barbecues. 

One of the village projects for the Millennium was to produce a patchwork wall-hanging for the village hall.  Large quantities of blue and cream material were purchased at a cost of £40 and these were cut into 25cm squares, which were then delivered to all the homes in the Parish, with a note asking the owners to depict their household on it in any way they chose.  Most people joined in enthusiastically, some sub contracted the work and a few just had their house name embroidered on their square.  All names were requested in black.

The returned squares show a diverse selection of techniques. The central larger square depicts the outline of the Parish and surrounding that are squares representing the George & Dragon Inn, The Quoits Club, Athelston’s Well, Kearton Plant Hire Company, Boldron Church, Boldron WI, The Village Hall, Dominoes & Quiz teams, the telephone box, Saunders Caravan Park, Sunday Club and Boldron Chapel. The squares of individual homes are placed around these.  The central square of the Parish was taken from a map obtained on the internet and one unit depicts the railway emblem, otherwise all other designs are original.  Materials and techniques used are silk threads, fur fabric, cotton material, beads, fabric paints, fabric pastels, counted thread material, felt, plastic, artificial flowers, satin material, acrylic paints, felt pens, knitting and photographs transferred to the material. Stitches include cross stitch, satin stitch, straight stitch, blanket stitch, daisy stitch and machine stitching.  One villager had the daunting task of joining all the squares together – not as easy as you would imagine – and she finished it off with a plain cream border.

Once joined together there was the mammoth task of getting the wall-hanging framed and transported.  Various quotes were received and it was agreed to use Gallagher & Turner in Newcastle.  The deep rebated solid ash fronted frame, finished with wax and French polish with 3mm acrylic glazing, measured 1980 x 1980mm.  The joined squares were stretched over a softwood frame to sit inside the main frame.  The cost of framing the wall-hanging amounted to £1,116.00.  Grants were received from Teesdale District Council.  A local kindly transported the finished item from Newcastle in a large van and another fixed it to the wall with brass plates.  A white blind was installed to cover the wall hanging when not on display, to keep it from fading, and this doubled as a screen for presentations!

The National Needlework Record’s Stitch 2000 Project

The wall-hanging was registered with the National Needlework Record’s Stitch 2000 Project.  The National Needlework Record was established in 1999 to raise the profile and value of needlework in the community - meaning those displayed in public or semi-public locations or owned by community groups or associations - and to build an extensive data resource for academic research.  The Stitch 2000 Project was a unique research study – the aim of which was to record 1,000 needleworks produced in the Millennium and to show the wonderful achievement in terms of skills, dedication, community spirit, art and history.  It also aimed to monitor the physical condition of the works and to record activities, celebrations, etc. in which the needleworks ‘take part’. The work had to be on permanent or frequent public display over a period of a minimum of twelve months.  The needleworks will be recognised as a major contribution to our national Second Millennium.  We have the Registration Label below with the number ST2DUR005C – ST2 shows the needlework was created for the Millennium,  DUR shows the county where it was located when first made, 005 is the individual number of the needlework in Durham and C tells the type of building where the needlework was located when first made.

Boldron Primitive Methodist Chapel

Boldron Primitive  Methodist Chapel was built in the 1860's, but Methodism was active in the village from at least the 1820's with worshippers meeting in houses.  The foundation stone was laid by Mrs Richardson and it opened on Good Friday 1868.

The picture shows Mrs Richardson and a large congregation at the laying of the foundation stone.  She was presented with an inscribed silver trowel.  Mrs Richardson also gave a Bible to the finished Chapel.

This picture was taken at the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Chapel in 1937.

The Methodist Chapel was often used as a meeting place for villagers before the construction of the Village Hall and many Parish Meetings were held there.

The Chapel had a thriving Sunday School for many years and a congregation who came from all over Teesdale as well as the local area to worship.  However, as with many other places of worship the congregation dwindled and the Chapel recently closed and has been sold and has planning permission to be turned into a house.

Boldron Mission Church

Boldron C of E Mission Church was built in the 1880's.  Before that date, parishioners from Boldron worshipped at Holy Trinity Church, Startforth or St Giles' Church, Bowes.It was built on the site of an old house, occupied by Jonathan Clarkson in 1841, and much of the building stone was recycled from this house.  The font, bell and pews were also recycled from Startforth Church.

There was a thriving congregation for many years and numerous babies were baptised in the reputedly Saxon font.  However, in recent years the numbers dwindled and the Church was sold and is now being converted into a house.

The George And Dragon, Boldron

It is not known when the George and Dragon was first used as a pub, but it has been operating since at least 1851 when Richard Jackson was an Innkeeper and Cordwainer in the Census but it was not noted as a public house in the 1841 Tithe map apportionments or Census.

The George and Dragon has had many landlords over the years and a number of changes have been made to the fabric of the building.  For many years from the mid 1960's until 2002 it also was the village Post Office and many younger villagers over the years have memories of buying stamps and chocolate bars from its small counter.  The pub itself is now only open at weekends and villagers help to keep it open as a community asset by serving behind the bar and serving meals in a converted bus in the car park.

Boldron  Quoits Hut

Boldron have two teams that play in the Zetland Quoits League every summer.  The quoits hut is used to by players to shelter from the occasional rain shower whilst the teams are playing. It was originally a barn for one of the village farms.

It also is used every December when the village Christmas tree lights are ceremonially lit.  This year carols were sung in there and hot soup, mulled wine and mince pies were enjoyed while the villagers sheltered from Storm Desmond.