Point 1 – The Village Hall



Both from a geographical point of view – being at the west entrance to the village – and in respect of its prominence in village life, the Village Hall is the appropriate point at which to start the History Trail.

The village hall was created by extending what was originally the two-classroom Church of England village school.  When the school closed in the 1960s the Church rented the building to the village community for a peppercorn rent for community use.  Although the old Memorial Institute – a wooden hut on the site of what is now Berry Court – had gone some way towards serving this purpose, the village welcomed the opportunity for a much-needed venue to extend social activities and provide meeting rooms for community groups.  Funds were raised to extend the building – adding the Main Hall and the Coffee Lounge – and to buy a strip of land from the neighbouring farm to enlarge the car park.

When the newly-entended village hall was opened in 1977 it became a central hub of village social life, and continues to do so to this day.  Its facilities and position – commanding excellent views of the open farmland to the north of the village – have made it a sought-after venue for both Sadberge residents and people from outside the village.

The village hall was operated and maintained by the Sadberge Village Hall Association, which was formed in 1977 after the village hall was officially opened.  As well as fundraising and looking after the fabric of the building, the annually-elected Management Committee also organised dances, concerts and a variety of 'entertainments' for villagers.

In 2018 the Village Hall Association was converted into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation – which, amongst other advantages, limits members' liability for any debts run up by the organisation – and the new Sadberge Village Hall CIO set up a wholly owned trading subsidiary to manage the day-to-day operation of the village hall.  As well as hiring out rooms for a variety of social and recreational purposes – including exercise classes, private parties, wedding receptions, parish council meetings, etc., etc. – the trading subsidiary runs the Village Hall Coffee Shop, which is open on weekday mornings.  :The village hall also provides a venue for the popular Sadberge Pre-School.  The Sadberge Village Hall CIO organises fundraising events – such as dinner dances and summer balls – and Halloween and Christmas children's parties.

The 'living memories' on this page include accounts of what it was like to attend the village school and reminiscences of the social events organised by the Sadberge Village Hall Association.

Memories of the Village School

David Yole

The school was the where most of the children went.  It consisted of three classrooms.  Class one, for the infants, was in the south facing room.  Class two was in the old wooden institute which is now the old aged pensioners' bungalows – Berry Court.  Class three was in the north facing classroom.  Both Class one and Class three are the same as they were when I started school in 1949 - 1959.

In Class one was a large coke oven which heated the room, and pipes to heat Class one.

The old toilets were cold places.  No-one sat long on those seats, especially in winter!

We had a garden which ran from the bottom of the hall north end to where the hall is next to the path at the south end.  It was quite large, and we grew vegetables, etc.  We had raspberry bushes plus a garden shed.  We often used to throw soil at each other from the raspberry bushes at others in the garden shed.  On one occasion we broke the window in the shed and, of course, the teacher went mad!

We had a cricket team at school for the seniors.  We played one or two local schools and there was a shield for it.

The pupils were in two houses – which were Angles or Saxons – when competing in sports, etc.

On Mondays we went on a bus trip to Preston school – the boys for our woodwork lesson and the girls for a domestic science lesson.  We all used to enjoy the day out.

Miss Worthington, I remember, was great as she took us for football if the weather was bad, and our teacher would not if the weather was poor.

Mr Glasswell was the Head Teacher at the village school.  He was very good at organising.  The P.T.A. (Parent Teachers Association), which he was involved in, ran numerous trips for the village people.  These trips ran all over the area on which the old form of Scotts Greys was used.  In my last year he organised a visit from Edinburgh via the coast to the Orkneys and Shetland, which was very educational.  Of course, we thought it was a great adventure.

All in all, my childhood was a very happy one and although you tend to drift apart when leaving school I still see people at various gatherings (especially funerals) as we grow older.

Chris Harrison

The street we lived on had a wonderful panoramic view of all of South East Durham.  It stretched probably 40 miles. That was one of my early recollections till I was about five, when school beckoned and all it had to offer.  But little did I realise I was going into my first class with the legendary Miss Worthington, who was a Victorian old lady who wore long skirts, horn rimmed glasses and had a fierce bark on her.  But fair!  She was a music teacher by origin and there are things in music she taught me that I still have today.

The other big event in Sadberge in those days was sports day.  Well, in 1960 a brand spanking new school opened at Hurworth for all the children over eleven from all the villages around to go to.  This totally changed SadbergeSchool.  It also coincided with my second major appointment in life when I was made captain of the school football and cricket teams and we played our first game of cricket against Abbey Road School.  It was one of the most memorable days of my life.  I can remember one of the wickets I took.  It's stayed with me all my life.

We had a wonderful headmaster at Sadberge called Norman Brooks and he organised lots of matches.


In my last year at school – 1959 – the seniors all went to Hurworth in that September, although the old school and institute were still used for a while after that for the youngsters.

Village School Timeline

1963 There were hopes to start a Brownies group in the school.
Feb 1966 Children attended new school premises.
Sep 1974     Head Teacher – Margaret Port.
A Parent Teacher Association (P.T.A.) was set up.
Nov 1972 Sadberge and Long Newton schools would join together to hold a bonfire.
1973 The two schools seem to be working well together.
May 1973 The school leaves the old building (on the site of the current Village Hall) and transfers to a new building on what is now St Andrew's Park.  It re-opens on 3rd September 1973.
Jul 1980 Mrs Port thanked parents and staff for their help throughout the year at the end of year service at school.  There were five leavers.  Each was given a Bible.
Dec 1980c The school Christmas concert and carol service raised £17.50
Apr 1982 The school's March Market raised £93.38, which paid for the children to visit Darlington Police Station.
Mrs Eileen Wilkinson resigned her post as Meals Supervisor.  The children made her a presentation at lunchtime.  She had been at the school for 13 years.
Jul 1982 At the Diocesan schools' Cathedral Service on 1st July 1982, Kari Vickers was chosen to read the lesson at the cathedral at Durham.
Nov 1982 Children and staff came to the church for a St Andrew's Day service.

Village Hall Timeline

Jun 1967     The crowning of the Rose Queen and the baby show took place at the institute (on the site of the present Berry Court).
1972 The First Spring Show was held in the institute.  The summer fete was going well.
1972 An Old Age Pensioners' bazaar was held to raise money for funds.  An annual craft and local history exhibition was held at the institute.
Feb 1973 Pie and Peas suppers were still running.
1973 The second Spring Show is held.
Aug 1977 The new extension to the village hall was officially opened in August 1977 by Ronald Richardson, who sadly died soon after.
1977 The Mothers' Union held a film and talk night about the RNLI at the village hall to raise money for funds for the British Red Cross.
Joyce Holiday organised the Youth Club Rota.
There was a jumble Sale in aid of the Christmas Party.  Doormen / doorwomen were needed – apply to Mavis Elliot at Cleveland House.
Oct 1977 Volunteers were sought to complete the interior decoration of the new hall.
The Durham Theatre performed at the hall.
1980 A barn dance with the Waggoners was one of the fundraising socials held at the hall.
Apr 1980 The first Spring Show took place in the new hall, raising £18.
Jun 1980 The summer fete was held.
Sadberge Village Hall Association submitted their private hire charges – non-profit-making for members and profit-making for functions.  The two rooms were £1.60 and £3.00 per hour.  The main hall was £9.00.  Affiliated membership was £0.75 and £1.20.
Dec 1980 A New Year party was held at the hall on 30th December 1980.
The community has raised over £1,500 through bonds and donations towards an outstanding sum owing of £4,998.
Jul 1981 The Village Hall Association expressed thanks to Betty Walters (Three Tuns) and her customers for raising £21.00 from the fancy dress competition for the hall.
Nov 1981 Fundraising continues.  A "nearly new" sale held in February raised £80.00.  In March there was a social evening and a dance to the Morris Foster Band.  In April Raymond Jones of Great Burdon gave a talk on 19th Century Antiques.
The summer fete was opened by Mrs I K Richardson with the crowing of the Rose Queen.

Go on to Point 2 – Berry Court.

For further information, contact Millie Scaife (01325-332020)

You can use this link to go to the History Trail index page.