Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wistanstow Village Hall - a palace built on chamber pots

Wistanstow, says the Shropshire Tourism website, has probably the best village hall in the world:
Mrs Harriett Greene completed the black and white mock medieval hall in 1926 from the Grove estate as a memorial to her husband who died 11 years previously. It was built by estate workers using local timber, stones and bricks. Not a nail was used, only wooden pegs. When first built it included a projection room for silent films, slipper baths costing 1d a go, library and billiards room. The bungalows in the corners were for the caretaker and the district nurse.
Harriet's husband, Henry David Greene, was Conservative MP for Shrewsbury between 1892 and 1906.

As to where the Greene family's money came from, 'Reminiscences of Wistanstow' by Michael Coles enlightens us:
The Greenes of the Grove made their money, I believe, in pottery: they had a factory in the Midlands, which made mainly "under-the-bed" pots (also known as "goesunders"). However, flush toilets soon began to put "potties" out of fashion, and the Greenes did not diversify so closed up, but their fortune had already been made.

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