The first moves towards a memorial to those from Cropwell Bishop who had fallen in the Great War of 1914-1918 occurred when a public meeting was held on Thursday 16th March 1919 to discuss proposals for a suitable memorial within the village.at War
A second meeting, a fortnight later on 30th March was held specifically to discuss a Memorial Window, and within a year this had been designed, completed and installed inside St Giles’ Church. Also, by the end of 1920 a tablet detailing the Roll of Honour for Cropwell Bishop had been completed and installed in the Village School on Fern Road.
There was still a band of villagers who wished to see a hut or a hall built within the village to commemorate those from Cropwell Bishop who were lost in the Great War, and with the assistance of Mr Derbyshire of the Gotham Co, who were engaged in the mining of gypsum in Cropwell Bishop, visits were made to several other Village Halls to search for ideas, and in February 1924 the decision was taken that the proposed building would be of brick.
In July 1925 plans were drawn up by a Fundraising went ahead; the first Village Fete was held in Mr Salvin’s field, and was officially opened by Miss Thorpe on Saturday 1st August 1925.Mr Higginbottom and by Mr Burnell, and in August of that year the palns submitted by Mr Burnell were accepted. There was to be a building 60 feet long by 22 feet wide, with a billiard table at the stage end, and a Kitchen and Retiring Room behind the stage.
From then on a village Fete was held annually, usually in the July of each year, and was opened by various dignitaries – Sir Edward and Lady Le Marchant, the Marquis of Lichfield, Colonel Oates, Jesse Hind and Lady Bayley to name but a few.
Organising the Fete was very successful as a Fundraiser; admission cost 6d (2½p) and a meat tea cost a shilling (5p), a plain tea was available for just 9d (less than 4p).
Skittles was especially popular and offered prizes for both men and women – a pig for the winning man, and a Stilton cheese for the winning woman.
The Finance Committee drew up a circular letter in which they solicited subscriptions and support for the Hall project, and an appeal was made to the men and women of the village for small interest free loans towards the Building Fund.
Much discussion and debate took place regarding the location of the Memorial Hall and for a long time the favoured place was in the Spring Field, but eventually a four acre site adjacent to the Grantham Canal on Nottingham Road was purchased from the Ministry of Health.
Debate regarding the building continued, and, after a last minute change to the plans it was decided to have windows in the side walls, and not all in the roof.
Eventually, the decision to go ahead and to start the building of the Hall was taken on Friday 6th July 1928. A tender from Burnett & Son was accepted, and building commenced with the additional help of volunteers from the village.
The Official Opening of the Cropwell Bishop Memorial Hall was on Saturday 3rd August 1929 when, after a dedication by the Reverend H R Wood the Hall was declared open by Mrs Derbyshire.
In October the Charity Commissioners were asked to become Trustees, and all organisations which were involved with or used the Hall were asked to appoint representatives to serve on the Memorial Hall Committee.
Later on that year, in November, the Roll of Honour, which is still on view in the Hall, was presented by Miss Horner and unveiled by Dr Woodward in a ceremony at which Mr Parkin presided, and Rev Wood led the prayers.
The first Trustees who were appointed were:- Miss Elnor and Messrs Barlow, Duncalf, Heaselden and Parkin.
Tennis courts were laid out on the playing field in 1932, and electric light was also installed – although it would be 1938 before mains water arrived.
The most important date in the history of the Cropwell Bishop Memorial Hall was Wednesday 29th June 1932 when His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales visited the Hall, an event which is commemorated by the photographs and press cuttings which are still on display in the Hall to this day.
Developments continued, and 1934 saw the introduction of a cricket pitch for boys, and swings and a see-saw for the younger children of the village; a village tennis club was also formed at this time.
By 1935 the Memorial Hall was being used for weekly cinema shows, and a bowling green was proposed, which was completed in August 1936.
In October 1935 Mr Derbyshire generously offered to pay half of the outstanding £275 which was owed to the Gotham Co, if the remainder could be raised by April 31st 1936. A Bazaar on Saturday 13th April 1936, which was opened by Lady Belper, assisted by Sir Jesse Hind raised a total of £137-10-0, which included a gift of £20 from Sir Jesse Hind and £10 from Mr Derbyshire. This enabled the Memorial Hall Committee to pay off the outstanding mortgage.
Village Fetes and Bazaars continued to be held, and in 1937 the Coronation of King George VI was celebrated with teas in the Memorial Hall, and sports on the playing fields for both adults and children followed by entertainment and a Dance in the evening.
The next major change didn’t occur until 1948 when Notts County Council proposed to flatten the Town Bridge over the Grantham Canal and to widen and re-align the road.
The widening and re-alignment of the road lead to the loss of a significant portion of land. The Committee negotiated with the Council to have a double entry drive with wrought iron gates, and a stone wall with a stone tablet in the centre. The stone tablet, which is still in the wall to this day, was carved by Mr Thompson a stone mason; however he made an error – Mr Calvert the architect had drawn a half-sized plan of the tablet, and Mr Thompson had cut the lettering at the correct height, but only half-size of the correct width!
The Cropwell Bishop Memorial Hall became a registered Charity, and appointed its first trustees in 1931; it has continued to be recognised and registered as a Charity to the present day. It is run by the members of the Memorial Hall Committee, who work tirelessly to ensure the future of the Memorial Hall by organising events and fund raising to cover the running costs and the ever increasing maintenance costs of a building which is now into its ninth decade, thus ensuring that the Cropwell Bishop Memorial Hall will continue to be there to commemorate those men from Cropwell Bishop who made the supreme sacrifice in World War I and in World War II.