The Stanley People’s Initiative, the local residents’ group which has taken community asset transfer of Stanley Halls from Croydon Council, has become one of the first groups in the country to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund “Sharing Heritage” grant.
SPI has been provided with £9,000 towards, “The Lives of Stanley Halls: Theatricals, Community and Entertainment”, a research project to find out more about the past of the Halls and put on a touring exhibition around the area.
SPI is also now negotiating with the council the terms of the lease for Stanley Halls, the South Norwood Hill venue which was designed by the local inventor, architect and philanthropist, William Stanley, and donated by him to the local community. SPI wants to run Stanley Halls as a concert hall, art gallery, social space and community venue, hoping to re-open by the end of this year.
Sharing Heritage is a new funding programme to help people across Britain explore, conserve and share all aspects of the history and character of their local area – so it may be a bit of a novelty to the council executives at Taberner House.
“We are taking Stanley Halls into community management and aim to make it a vibrant hub for SE25,” a spokesman for SPI said.
“Stanley Halls is a fascinating complex of unique Edwardian buildings built between 1904 and 1911. This wonderful resource has been under-used, and we are working on changing that. The Lives of Stanley Halls: Theatricals, Community and Entertainment is a wonderful opportunity to investigate the past of the halls through the people who used it
“We are looking for volunteers to help us with this project. There will be fortnightly meetings, after work, from September to November with training on research techniques, recording oral histories and using digital media. If you haven’t time to get so involved, we also need your stories and memories of Stanley Halls so please get in touch.
“We will share the information gathered through a mobile exhibition on Stanley Halls as well as snippets of research via our twitter feed @StanleyHalls and post stories on our blog.”
Carol Clapperton, SPI’s chair, said: “It’s great that we have been awarded this grant. We love Stanley Halls and know there’s so much more to discover about its secrets. The stories we have so far about the Halls have been a real insight into the buzz there once was in this grand building and that we hope to recreate.
“We are really looking forward to sharing these stories.”
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