Lymington's Malt House, the Centre of Lymington's Community
Since 1948 the Community Centre has provided Lymington with a valuable and flexible hub for culture, entertainment and education.
As Lymington prepares for the LOVE your Community Centre fundraising day on Saturday 5 October, let us look back for a moment at the history of our fabulous town hub. (More about Saturday's exciting activities here).
On the corner of Cannon Street and New Street in Lymington is situated the Lymington Community Centre, which for over 70 years has provided our town with a valuable and flexible hub for culture, entertainment and education. Once an old malt house, the Centre has grown over the years and today's fundraising campaign will see it flourish further, ensuring it remains a useful and important centre for future generations.
The Old Malt House
With a distinctive cowl on its roof, the Centre building originally formed part of a Malt House for brewing. At the time of the wars with Revolutionary France, many French refugees and Royalists (émigrés) settled in and around Lymington. A band of 400 émigré soldiers, commanded by Colonel Rothalier, occupied the Malt House, adjacent stables and a long row of buildings that once stood opposite.
In June 1795, émigré soldiers took part in an ill-fated attempt to regain a foothold in Frane. The Quiberon Bay expedition was unsuccessful, poor planning and leadership, along with treachery and divided loyalities among the ranks, led to the invasion being a complete disaster. After a period of hosting French loyalist refugees, the conclusion of hostilities with Napoleon in 1915 saw Lymington settle back to some quiet normality.
The Malt House saw a variety of uses over the years but increasingly became dilapidated.
After the Second World War, a Lymington Community Association was founded by Robert Hole. The aim was to to find a building in which both cultural and other activities could be housed in one centre, at this time many activities were already being run in halls and rooms around the town.
Robert Hole acquired the old malt house and a 3/4 acre site in New Street (for £1,500), plus four ex-RAF huts.
1948 - Lymington Community Centre is born!
From 1946, work began to create a 'Centre' for Lymington. Additions were made to the old Malt House and inside the Malt Hall was completely renovated. Lymington's Community Centre was first opened in 1948.
The Wellington Wing was added. Then a carpark. Later the Robert Hole Memorial Wing.
In 1952 Lymington Community Centre was featured in Punch magazine as the 'Community Centre of the Day.'
In 1960 Lymington Community Centre was on TV, with a visit from Southern Television, and in 1962 it hosted the BBC Any Questions radio programme.
In June 2007 a new flexible hall arrangement known as the Fuller McLellan Hall was opened to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Centre. Funding for two halls was possible because of two generous legacies from Miss Daphnie Fuller and Mrs Joyce McLellan.
Lymington Community Centre today
Today the Lymington Community Centre provides something for everybody and contributes enormously to the local area, offering both recreational and educational facilities to all, always vibrant and busy - it's used and enjoyed by up to 4,000 people every week.
There are now plans to refurbish and develop Lymington Community Centre to increase income and decrease maintenance costs by renovating some areas and connecting all the separate buildings together, to simplify getting from one area to another and making all the activities on offer more accessible to everybody.
This Saturday 5 October there will be fundraising activities at the Centre and at the Sea Water Baths - find out more here.
Information and pictures: Lymington Community Centre
Additional information: Rotary Club of Lymington