The present village hall was built as the British Legion Club in 1924 which was handed over to the parish council in 1940.
In 1966 the Village Hall committee decided that the old hall had outlived its day. A Parish Meeting was called but was poorly attended; but a second meeting was more successful and a collection was made throughout the village for a working fund. On 15 December 1966 a committee was formed, with Ivor Gardener in the chair. The work of raising the money then began in earnest and Fireside Bingo was introduced in May 1967. Volunteers delivered the bingo cards around the village. The committee organised a fund-raising ‘Festive Dance’ in the village hall on Saturday 30 December 1967; tickets were £1 each. This was quite expensive for the time, but all the tickets were sold, giving the committee great encouragement. All of the proceeds of the carnival, each year, were given towards the new building fund at this time.
It was thought that £20,000 would cover the cost of the building and the original idea was to raise £5,000 before applying for a grant. Prices however continued to rise and because of inflation the decision was made in 1973 to make a start on the building and to raise the rest of the money after completion. At this time the fund raising had realised £15,500. The tender from Messrs REEMA Construction Ltd of £38,333.35p was accepted; work was to commence on 10 December 1973 and was to be completed by 10 August 1974.
Grants of money were received from the Department of Education and Science, £10,000 and from Wiltshire County Council, £5,000. The building was completed in time for the wedding reception, of Linda Gardner and Ray Cargill which was held in the hall on Saturday 21 September 1974. One week later the social centre was declared officially open; this was on Saturday 28 September; when Mr Thomas Raddon Hood, of Porch House, performed the opening ceremony. He cut the ribbon and declared: ‘May this hall be a great source of pleasure to succeeding generations’.
The building had cost £38,500 and the cost of furnishings etc brought the total to £42,000. The social centre committee at this time was chaired by Ivor Gardner, Ron Breach, was the vice-chairman, Peter Paget was the treasurer and Peter Lewis was the secretary. The social centre building originally consisted of the village hall, which is complete with a stage at the northern end, a lounge, a skittle alley and two committee rooms. There was also toilets, and drinks storerooms, etc.
The parish council purchased 100 stacking chairs in July 1973. The chairs were of metal and polypropylene and they cost £241.54p. Another 100 chairs were purchased in September 1974; this time the cost was £322. This shows how fast the cost of living was rising in the 1970s. V.A.T. was paid on each of these prices; the parish council, as owners of the building, was able to reclaim this money. For the first eighteen months the car park was un-surfaced. Then in March 1976 it was laid out, complete with drainage, kerbs and a hard surface, by G. Pearce and Sons Ltd. An example of the functions that were held in the early days of the social centre is when the Bromham football club held a dance, on Saturday 10 February 1979. Dancing was to the Les Colledge Band and the admission price was 60p, this price included refreshments.
The social centre was enlarged in 1981 by the addition of a separate entrance to a new lounge and two new skittle alleys and a further toilet block. Jack Fruen erected the shell of this new building for £41,000; members of the committee carried out the electrical work and the decoration, thus saving much money. The total cost was about £55,000. Above this, was added, in October 1985, a self-contained flat, for the use of the steward. In 2001 the committee purchased 200 upholstered stacking chairs, and in 2003 lightweight tables, with folding legs were purchased. These replaced the original hall tables, which had come to the end of their useful life.
On the 17th July 2007 The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Bromham to see the newly-restored medieval ceiling of St Nicholas Church and to celebrate the village’s success in the Calor Village of the Year 2006/7, a plaque to commemorate the occasion can be found in the hall.
In early 2012 the adjoining Social Club became a Community Pub and changed it’s name to The Owl. This means it is no longer a members club but is now open to all but its purpose remains the same, to provide for and support the Social Centre.
Thanks to Dennis Powney of Bromham Area History Group for his help providing most of this information.