Residents and community organisations in Bisley responded magnificently to the plea by the Trustees of Bisley Village Hall to bring to life the story of the Shaftesbury School and the village hall. Closely intertwined, the chapel of Shaftesbury School and Farm School became the Bisley Village Hall soon after the closure of the School in 1959.
In response, yesterday Bisley Village Hall had a display of information boards, old photographs, and School memorabilia. The hall is the heart of the community affairs in Bisley, and so it’s fitting that yesterday’s heritage event involved the the unveiling of two blue plaques on village hall.
One plaque commemorated that the hall was one the school chapel of Shaftesbury School, and the other to commemorate the boys from the school who lost their lives in the two World Wars, replacing the memorial tablets lost after the school closed.
From Bisley Residents Association newsletter of Spring 2018 is this about the Bisley Village Hall Heritage Project. The Trustees of Bisley Village Hall seem themselves as guardians of its heritage, in addition to their responsibilities for the Hall. This is where the Heritage Project aims to capture information and reminiscences about the building and its place in the history of Bisley.
In the second part of the 19th century Bisley became a place of refuge and support for poor, homeless, and orphaned children. First came the Refuge Farm School constructed in 1868 then, in 1873, the larger Shaftesbury School (with which the Farm School was amalgamated in 1919). In 1874, a chapel was built to accommodate the pupils and staff from both schools, with a separate room in which villagers could buy a cheap cup of tea and meet friends. That chapel is at the heart of the present Bisley Village Hall.
Here are photos of the yesterday’s heritage and plaque unveiling event. Surrey Heath Mayor, Cllr Dan Adams, thanked those involved in the day’s event. Jim Henbest, honorary president of the village hall, unveiled the plaque commemorating the chapel, and Keith Mansfield, former school pupil and bandmaster of the school’s band, the plaque commemorating the memorial tablets.