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Our History

Rudry Parish Hall

Our History

Until the 1940s, social activities in Rudry took place in the school or the church hall (at that time, opposite St James’ Church).

During the war, the local Home Guard (No. 3 Platoon, A Company, 6th Glamorgan Battalion, Home Guard) practiced drilling, marching and counter-marching in the extremely restricted space of the Church Hall which indirectly led in 1945 to a public meeting held in Ebenezer Chapel (now a private dwelling) to consider building a Memorial Hall in the Parish. There was support for the proposal and a committee was elected to develop the idea which it did with enthusiasm and great local support.

Fundraising was undertaken through a number of activities: drama, concerts and entertainment, whist drives, bring-and-buy sales, a carnival and flower show (later to become a gymkhana and then an annual Eisteddfod) and house-to-house collections. The most successful fund-raising activity of all was the weekly football sweep which continued until after the hall was built. After some of years of negotiation, a Conveyance was signed in the Black Tower of Cardiff Castle on 1st May 1953, meaning that a five acre site on Common Land belonging to the Lord of the Manor of Senghenydd: the Marquess of Bute was acquired for the building of the hall.  In the same year, the site was levelled.  Planning permission was subsequently granted and tenders invited.  The Official Opening took place on Whit Monday in 1957. Raymond Gower. M.P. for Barry declared the hall open remarking that it was a “fine achievement for such a small number of people’.

The hall became the centre for social activity for the villages of Rudry, Waterloo and Draethen and has been well utilised over the years.  It has been the home for the WI, venue for Chapel and Church communities supporting an active Sunday School and home for an enigmatic football team and Cricket Club.  It sustained an annual Eisteddfod for many years.  It was also home for Nature Club, Youth Clubs and Young Farmers Club events.  It was also the venue for the annual Rudry Mountain Race, Mouse Race, Whist Drive, Harvest Supper, Pony Club, Bonfire Night, Barn Dance and Country Fairs, not forgetting an acclaimed Pantomime Production.   In more recent times the hall and field has provided sports and recreational facility for the pupils at Rudry Primary School.

Many improvements were made to the hall over the years.  The late seventies early eighties saw the removal of the two phase electric central heating system which was slow and unresponsive and replaced by new high level radiant electric heaters.  In the late eighties a paved patio area to the rear of the hall greatly increased its functionality, and the field and banks were also greatly improved at this time – swathes of green appeared where hitherto bleak bare slag had prevailed.  Meeting the upkeep and maintenance of the hall was a major headache for such a small community.

Thankfully in the early nineties the County Council adopted and took over these responsibilities, whilst allowing the hall to retain its independence as a registered charity. The asbestos roof was replaced by pressed steel tiles. Council also agreed to pay for the services of a caretaker cleaner, alleviating a large burden of responsibility from the Voluntary Management Committee.  Various celebrations saw in the New Millennium, with the School and the community marking this landmark in history with photographic displays of the area and Ruperra Castle by the local history group. Historic documented archives were placed in a time capsule at the front of the hall. A footpath was open through the woodland to the east of the hall out to the Waterloo Road just down from the school.

The hall served the parish very well over the years.  However by the turn of the 21st century, it was dated and did not meet modern requirements in terms of appearance, comfort and facilities. Even though the hall had updated its facilities over the years from its own limited resources, it was generally felt that the basic provision, the fabric of the hall, poor standard toilets and sewer services, inadequate insulation and inefficient heating systems were in need of more than just remedial improvement.  Following success in securing some small grants for a new kitchen, re-vamping of stage lighting, with digital projection and state of the art sound systems, the Voluntary Management Committee found new appetite for attaining further funding.

In partnership with the Community Council, two Parish-wide questionnaires were issued to determine what the community would like for their hall and how they would use it.  This public consultation process was a requirement of the funding bodies, and from this, a brief was drafted and plans drawn for planning approval. Drawings were made available at the hall for public scrutiny.  It was the initial intention to try and keep the hall open during the restoration work, but due to the number of successful grant applications and the subsequent amount of work to be done, this was not practicable. The project time line was compressed, allowing for economies to be achieved within reduced time scales.

Updating the hall
Work completed to bring the hall into the 21st Century included:

• New toilets
• New kitchen
• Large side conservatory-style extension to the side of the hall overlooking the field
• New roof
• New bar area
• Lots of new storage
• New geothermal heating system of ground source heat pump and ground coils under the field
• New underfloor heating
• New flooring
• New windows and doors
• Lots of insulation to external walls, floor and roof
• New drainage
• New patio slabs
• Lots of painting and decorating

The old hall was closed at the start of 2010, and the new hall handed back to the community in July of that same year, with a community event celebrating the official opening of the new hall. A second wave of grant permitted the addition of two meeting rooms, a disabled toilet/wet room and more storage. The grant obtained also funded the reshaping and tarmacing of the car park and completing the grass overflow car park outside the extension.


The two waves of grant funding were awarded by:

• Community Facilities and Activites Programme (CFAP) administered by the Regeneration Unit of the Welsh Assembly Government (£400K)
• Community Key Fund – three awards (£110K)
• Biffa Grant (£30K)
• Beacons Grant (£20K)
• Draethen, Waterloo and Rudry Community Council (£2K)

Due to increased hall activity and to put activities on a more business-like footing, a Hall Manager was employed to deal with the day-to-day running of the hall.  Hall improvements continue as necessary, with the Voluntary Management Committee approving capital expenditure in 2022 in respect of kitchen improvements, including improved electricity supply, new ovens, fridge and work surfaces


Raymond Gower remarked in 1957 that the construction of the original hall was a ‘fine achievement for such a small number of people’.  He would surely be pleased that those words apply just as much today as they did when he spoke them!


Acknowledgements for information in this article:

Rev John Guy – A History of Rudry 1976

Phil Lewis – Rudry Recorder, Summer 2011

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