St Margaret's Hall & The Annex
Brief History

St. Margaret's Hall was built in the late 1970's, to fulfil the need for a Roman Catholic church in the Hatherley area.  The aim of the building was to provide somewhere for Mass on a Sunday and Feast Days, and to serve as a community hall for the area.  The land was purchased from Cheltenham Borough Council in 1976, after much fund raising in the area.

Father Placid Sinott was an Assistant Curate at St. Gregorys' Church, in Cheltenham, and he was given the task of encouraging local believers to raise the funds.  Dances, garden fetes, rummage sales, bingo sessions, raffles etc. abounded, all with a view to getting the means to start the building.  DOUAI ABBEY put money into the venture, and so the aim was realised.

The official opening was on the 12th May 1978 by The Right Reverend Mervyn Alexander.

In 1997, the Roman Catholic Church decided that they no longer needed St. Margaret's Hall and they gave three weeks' notice of closure to the users of the clubs that used the hall, to vacate the premises.  This caused major alarm, as the hall served a useful purpose in the area.  A meeting was called and a group calling themselves St. Margaret's Hall Users Group was formed.  Mr. Roger Whyborn, was elected Chairman, Mrs. V. Hayhurst, representing the 'Lifelong Fitness' group was secretary. Other founding committee members were Mr. Graham Nicholls, (Hatherley Evangelical Church, who ran a Youth Group),  Mrs. Pearl O'Dell, (Up Hatherley Over 60's), and Mr. Don Slack, who for several years ran bingo sessions for local residents in the Hall.

Mrs. Connie Scadding also volunteered, and became Booking Secretary, when the hall opened in the following year. The hall later re-opened with no other capital than the personal loan of £500 from Mrs Scadding and her husband Alan.

Much campaigning and lobbying of Council and Councillors then ensued, and it was shown that there was a need for the hall in the area, so eventually on the 9th September 1998, the hall re-opened following an agreement with Douai Abbey, brokered by Borough Council officer John Webster in which the Council had agreed to buy the hall; the hall was in a fairly run-down condition when the new management took over in 1998.  On 14th September 2000, Cheltenham Borough Council purchased the hall from the Trustees of DOUAI ABBEY, and leased it to the St. Margaret's Hall Users Group.

In the years which followed the proceeds of hirings, together with funds which were raised externally, were re-invested in improving the fabric of the hall with disabled toilets, new kitchen, renovated floor and ceiling, a sound system, re-cladding, solar photovoltaic panels, and an evaporative cooling system  and many other necessary improvements. 

More recently, it was decided to make a step change in the facilities provided, namely to design and build a 75 seater annex, completed in 2017. The main facility was operating near to its saleable hall capacity, and the committee identified significant unmet demand in the community with users being turned away, not only from St Margarets Hall but also from other halls in the area which are fully booked. There was also demand for a smaller hall and/or rooms. 

The new facility can operate independently of the main hall, with its own toilets, and including air extraction and sound system, disabled and baby change facilities, and ability to make drinks etc. The revised car parking area serving the whole centre has more than adequate facilities for 49 cars in marked spaces.

The annex aims to tap into an area of the market, such as meetings, classes, rehearsals and lectures, as well as some of the gentler fitness and yoga classes.