History of Hurworth Village Hall
Hurworth lies on the banks of the Tees and the earliest settlement may have been prehistoric. There has been a church in the village since the 9th century. Cottages in the east end of the village date from around 1715 and other buidlings from this period are situated around the village green.
Hurworth 200 years ago was a linen village with hundreds of weavers working looms either in damp subterranean rooms dug into the riverbank or in temporary tumbledown shacks. Many turned to drink.
The Temperance Movement
The earliest temperance driving force in Hurworth was a Methodist named Margaret Maynard. She built a chapel and then by forming the Hurworth Teetotal and Prohibition Society which held its inaugural gala on the village green in 1852. The 1863 gala was reportedly attended by 1,000 people. With such support the society wanted permanent premises and in 1864, 26 year old architect GG Hoskins was asked to design a meeting hall. (See below).
Further to the building of the Temperance Hall the Onward Coffee Tavern was built opposite the Hall and had a reading room downstairs and a billiard room upstairs. The books from the reading room were sold at an auction by Thomas Watson Auctioneers on January 7th 1891. The tavern is now the dentist’s surgery.
Hurworth Village Hall
Mr Hoskins designed and built the £650.00 Temperance Hall. The opening was performed by Alfred Backhouse and the foundation stone was laid by Joseph Pease. The Hall was opened on December 27th 1864.The opening was followed by a public tea for 150 people.
Further to this Mr Hoskins went on to design Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School (Darlington), Middlesbrough Town Hall, Pease public Library (Darlington), Victoria Hall (Sunderland) amongst other notable buildings.
Hurworth Temperance Hall including Onward House was registered under the Charities Act of 1960 on the 17th August 1966. The Hall has been managed by Trustees since that time with Onward House being sold on the 22nd March 1968.