On 23 January 1922 Earl Howe gave a conveyance to Mr J J Sheppard and Mr J N Derbyshire for the eleven acres of land.
On 4 April 1922 these two local dignitaries conveyed the land to the Rev. R A Bidwell and others “upon trusts of a village land and premises situated in Gotham”.
Gotham Memorial Hall was officially opened by Lord Belper and the Rev. Bidwell in 1921.
The original Deed and Conveyance sets out the Trust as follows:
“The Trustees shall hold the said premises hereby assured as and for a recreation ground and a site for the village hall which has been erected on the said premises as a memorial to the men of the parish of Gotham who fell in the great war 1914-1918”
In 1953 the scheme was varied to appoint Gotham Parish Council as sole Trustee, the original Trustees having passed away.
The Hall was completely re-built in brick in the 1960s, and was officially opened by the oldest resident of the village, 99 year old Mrs Lacey on 16th November 1968. The Hall contains Rolls of Honour for those who served and those who served and died in the 1914-18 and the 1939-45 wars. At the beginning of any major function in the Hall a minute’s silence is always held in memory of the fallen. For more information on the fallen please CLICK HERE.
In the late 1960s the main building was extended under a Government Scheme by adding a self-contained annexe which was to be used as a Youth Centre. The Government eventually withdrew their support for this type of development and, together with the decline in the popularity of Youth Clubs, the Trustees had to take on the additional financial burden of maintaining that part of the building as well, with dwindling usage and income.
In 1974 the Trustees further extended the hall to provide accommodation to be used by the local GPs as a satellite Surgery, and continuing the existing tradition created in the 1930s, of providing a Nurses Clinic in the Hall.
This extension also included a room which was rented by the Notts County Council Library Service who had previously used a smaller room in the Hall (now used as a store room). This was equipped with purpose-made lockable book shelves/cabinets, to enable the Librarian to clear and secure the books when the room is needed for other meetings.
The most recent addition to the Recreation Ground is a floodlit all-weather Multi-purpose Sports Arena which is heavily used both day and night for netball, tennis and five-a-side football. This was built in 1999-2000 with grant aid from Sport England, Foundation for Sports and Arts, Rushcliffe Borough Council and others. The facility is entirely self-funding and runs at a profit.
Numerous attempts have been made to re-start a “Youth Club” without success, and for several years the annexe has largely been unused. The heating system broke down and is obsolete, it is not energy efficient, the hall is too large and dark, and is unappealing for use for social functions or meetings. There are no facilities for the disabled. The area was temporarily used by a Boxing Club until the recent refurbishment work began.
In 2003 the Trustees were approached by the Library Service and the Doctors Practice to determine whether any additional floor space could be made available to enable them to offer a wider range of services. This coincided with the Trustees’ discussions on how to improve the facilities to provide the badly-needed accommodation for small clubs and meetings (which were not available in other parts of the building) which they felt could be achieved by re-configuring the floor area of the former Youth Centre, replacing the heating, lighting and plumbing with energy efficient systems, and ensuring that all areas of the facility were accessible for disabled users.
The Trustees believe that this solution would enable them to allow more space for the Surgery and Library area, but also re-vitalise the entire amenity which has for 84 years been central to the well-being of the inhabitants of Gotham.
Unfortunately, having the Parish Council as the Trustee made it impossible to apply for the necessary grants to carry out the refurbishment, and so using the services of Prohelp (Business in the Community) the previous Trustees spent approximately two years working with a firm of Solicitors and the Charity Commissioners to obtain the new Scheme which separated the Trust from the Parish Council. The new Scheme commenced on 9th September 2005 and enables the Trustees to offer appropriate leases to long-term users, and to apply for grants. A local Architect also gave his services on a free-of-charge basis to help create a plan for the use of the building in line with the expectations of the 21st century, thus keeping the initial work costs to a minimum.