The Trusty Servant May 2015 No.119

The TRUSTY SERVANT NO.119 M AY 2 0 1 5 The Headmaster writes: New Hall renewed Mrs Lindsay Fox MBE JP DL, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, officially opened the refurbished New Hall on 19 January. The hall had been closed for eighteen months while work was carried out. Over the first half of the twentieth century the need for a proper hall was increasingly felt. School had fulfilled the purpose as best it could since the seventeenth century: for some functions, like an endof-term concert, it could produce quite an atmosphere, but, for modern needs and expectations, it had become inconvenient and uncomfortable, and by the 1950s the numbers in the School had grown to a point where very few of its requirements could be met in that building. Money for a new hall came first of all from the surplus accumulated in the War Memorial Fund. Then the generous offer from Sir George Cooper of Hursley Park to return to the School the 1682 panelling which had been taken out of Chapel in 1874 brought with it further grants from charitable trusts. Finally, an appeal, launched in 1956, made the project to build a hall feasible. Plans were published in 1957, the work of architect Peter Shepheard, to mixed reactions. Building work began the following year, at the southern edge of the Warden’s Garden, one of a number of sites under consideration. The high water table produced some problems, visited on us several times since during exceptionally wet winters; but everything was in order for the official opening, celebrated triumphantly with a purpose-written Masque in the summer of 1961. The building as a whole has stood the test of its first fifty years pretty well, but inevitably maintenance and repairs have pressed in upon us; and, inevitably, the School’s needs have changed (again) over the period of the last fifty years. The number of musical ensembles has grown, the need for well-co-ordinated year-group parents’ meetings has increased, as has the demand for safe and secure public examination accommodation. What has this refurbishment entailed? A new roof, surmounted with solar panels; a reorganisation of drainage; a 1 complete upgrading of electrical and lighting provision; the addition of extensive green rooms and seminar facilities at the east end; an entrance atrium at the west end; and a balcony overlooking the Warden’s garden on the north side, enhancing opportunities to entertain large groups of people. In the interior the fixed seating has been removed and replaced by retractable raked seating, the floor has been levelled, storage space for musical instruments and furniture has been created, the entrance atrium has provided more reception and entertainment space and an acoustic ceiling has been added. The latest technology for recording, amplification and image-projection has been included. The project includes at its east end a district main and a biomass plant that enables the heating of the hall and our ancient buildings by a new wood pellet boiler. The exterior of the hall projects an austere classicism, but its setting on the north side among the trees of the Warden’s Garden softens it. Its interior is graced by its seventeenth-century panelling, now splendidly restored. It is hoped that New Hall will make its contribution to the cultural life of the city of Winchester and that the people of Winchester will become familiar with its handsome interior.