Design-led Architects based in Gravesend, Kent delivering highly workable contemporary and innovative design solutions to challenging briefs and tight budgets

Multiple deliveries of breath

High Halstow Village Hall


High Halstow Village Hall: Before

When Clays first encountered High Halstow Village Hall, we were met with an exhausted 1960’s building which had fallen victim to years of vandal abuse and lack of maintenance funds. In spite of this, to the credit of the Village Hall committee, they had kept the hall running for the local community. The halls presence avoids the need for village residents to travel to neighbouring towns for much needed meeting spaces for youth and other community groups. 

Having planned a grand new build scheme to revive the hall, the committee were understandably demoralised to realise that, not only were funds insufficient to realise their scheme, but that it is very difficult to attract funding to the area at all. Despite the dilapidated state of the hall, its location is not deemed deprived enough to warrant significant investment. 

The hall needed; not just a new design, but direction to make the works a reality. 

At the time, we had just finished Parkwood Community Centre. The committee members here had a similar problem with a vision which could not attract sufficient funding. We worked intimately with them to flesh out an understanding of what they really needed, then proceeded to pursue this as economically as possible.  

Parkwood Community Centre

At High Halstow Village Hall, the Committee were relatively inexperienced at commissioning architectural work. We therefore worked closely with them to create a new brief and then conducted a feasibility study which appraised the adapted scheme against possible pots of funding. In order to deliver the scheme, we proposed to parcel it into 3 phases. 

The first phase would include essential works. The roof was at the end of its life, and the back wall had been kicked to bits and boarded with plywood. Phase 1 included a new roof and vertical extension of the first floor storage as well as a new Trespa clad rear wall. During the works, the main hall also received a make over. 

Phase 1 Works: new roof works, vertical extension and rear wall

Phase 1 Works: Main hall

The second phase of the works were finished in Autumn 2013 and included a new wall at the entrance, and re-configured the internal spaces to fit new WCs and a new Doctor’s Clinic.


    High Halstow Village Hall: Before Phase 2


High Halstow Village Hall: After Phase 2 - WC and Clinic Waiting Room/Green Room

High Halstow Village Hall: After Phase 2 - Front Elevation

The third phase will contain a new kitchen and stairs to the mezzanine storage area. 

Clays is currently working on a History Project documenting over 100 years of the George Clay Partnership (now Clay Architecture ltd.) on the built environment of North Kent towns In our research, we were delighted to realise that the original village hall was built by the George Clay Partnership, as we stumbled across this archive photo of the hall in its glory days when completed in 1962. 

We are excited by the challenge to breathe new life into this old gem, even in intermittent phases; perhaps resuscitation is best done through multiple deliveries of breath. 

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