TO me, the building is the Parish Hall,
Nantwich's version of church halls throughout the land where the
congregation of the parish church - and others - hold secular
events. It is the name by which I have always known it, although I
was aware that some people called it Church House and the Church
The church's magazine, This
Month, calls it the Parish Hall.
The town-centre venue for
church events as well as a wide range of events that have nothing to
do with St Mary's Church, it has been called the Parish Rooms in
recent years. Parish Hall, Parish Rooms? Near enough.
But I had to chuckle at an
item in a local newspaper at the end of the month (November 2010) when a few
paragraphs in the news briefs column announced that the 100
(Nantwich) Squadron, Air Training Corps, were to hold a coffee morning in
"Nantwich Tea Rooms." I had never heard or seen it called that before! It
gave the building the air of a watering hole for visitors to the
town, but, as you can see, it is not the quaint building normally
associated with the name of tea rooms.
For website visitors who do not
know the building, the castellated protrusion on the left is the
staircase to the first floor, and the glassed area is the all-weather
front entrance to a hall-cum-small meeting area. Behind the window next
to that is a kitchen, while the rest of the ground floor is the Church
Office - formerly .Nantwich Tourist Information Centre (TIC) - with a
such as keeping the building in good
order, and there is a Parish Hall manager who sees to the day-to-day
running of it. The many bookings - some regular, some one-offs,
which include coffee mornings on at least two days of every week -
are handled by the Church Office personnel.
lift on the right is the reason for the new-look entrance. The hall
is regularly hired by a number of organisations, and people with
mobility problems who wanted to attend a meeting on the first floor
had to find a way round a flight of stairs. The Trustees decided
that a lift was the answer.
UPDATE: The Civic Hall is
currently (2015) owned by Nantwich Town Council who acquired it with
some other Cheshire East Council assets. The Town Council never had
the chance to buy the Parish Hall room, it having been already sold
back to the Trustees, but are happy to be next to the bus station in
Beam Street, one of the arrival points for visitors to the town,
In passing, people were
dumbfounded when the TIC left this easy-to-find town centre location
to move to the Civic Hall several hundred yards away round a corner.
The TIC operated under the auspices of Cheshire East Council - Crewe
and Nantwich Borough Council at the time of the move - who owned the
Civic Hall and it made financial sense to cut costs by consolidating
council activities into one building.
The upper storey of the
Parish Hall has a small entrance hall/large landing (over the
glass-fronted extension) and a large room for all sorts of activities. This room has what
used to be a minstrels' gallery high in one
wall but this was closed in with a wall
and is now - as I recall - used for storage.
The Parish Hall is run by Trustees who
see to things