It is History repeating itself in so many ways.
Back in 1880’s it’s interesting to note that the initial sum required to build the hall was £650 which I guess like for like was around £1/2million today. By the following year it was clear that sum was out of reach and the village settled for a typical `Tin Building’ (very popular in Victorian times). In today’s terms these are the pre-fabricated timber lodges which are again popular. In cost terms the `Tin Halls’ at £223.00 in 1889 compare to today’s pre-fabricated highly insulated buildings at circa £230,000 erected on a base with services !
The villager’s early trawl for money brought in £66 equivalent today of £70,000, so again there are significant similarities. Our £60,000 is being drawn from a greater number of donors than at the turn of the 19th Century and includes an element of taxation `claw back’ in the form of S106 money levied by government on the Blind Pond Farm development here in the village.
Interestingly the architect’s cost of £2 2s 0d (around £5,000 in today’s terms) is somewhat different today with all the legislation surveys and professional specialist advisers required to put a building up! Back in 1895 there were no such thing as advising engineers, geo-technical reports, mechanical & engineering, foundation engineers, loading engineers, design and access statements, planning costs, Arboriculture report, hazardous substance report quantity surveyors, landscaping, health & safety assessments, site security, site facilities etc. etc. etc.! In the late 1800 early 1900 the builder appears to have known exactly what they were doing and was expected to take care of all these issues as part of their price. In talking to Fred O’Dell of Drakewell who built so much of Bletchley between the Wars (including the Wooden Huts at Bletchley Park) he often reminisced of his plans for a house being in his pocket book. Bricklayers would say “Fred measure out another house well be ready next week”! Today we have to meet all these costs plus more and that adds an `eye watering’ £48,000 to our hall costs! That is the price of progress!
In construction terms the foundations cost around £45,000 in today’s terms but that proved to be the buildings undoing when in the 1950’s the hall was rebuilt almost entirely in block thereby massively increasing the weight! Of further interest the `Iron Room’ as it was called cost £155,000 in today’s money and interestingly we have received a quotation for a pre-fabricated wooden hall (off the peg) at £166,000 but 30% larger than in 1890!
Finally, it was the case that the village could not raise the necessary funds and were forced to take out an 18month loan at 5% interest costing in today’s terms £4,500! Even more interesting (nothing changes) someone charged £2,000 to negotiate that loan! It’s not clear how the village raised the balance of circa £150,000 (in today’s money) 18 months after the hall was built – but they obviously did!