Northumberland Village Halls heritage book launched

28th Jun 2024

Northumberland Village Halls heritage book launched

A book celebrating the heritage of Village Halls in Northumberland was launched this week at two events in Powburn and Humshaugh. Author Carrie Brookes from CAN gave a talk about how she pulled the information together and gave a reading.

The book was the culmination of a joint project between CAN and Northumberland Archives, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. They worked with 30 Village Halls to explore their heritage through memories and archive materials.

Volunteers from the halls were trained to preserve, record and share the heritage they discovered. They recorded oral histories from people within their villages and learnt how to conserve and archive their documents, photographs and artefacts.

They also used the Northumberland Archives for research and showcased what they’d found through displays, booklets and events.

Those volunteers and their communities are incredibly proud of the history and heritage of the buildings they run and the part halls have played in rural life over the years.

Every building is different and reflects the nature of the community it serves. Most started out with a different purpose in the past and took on life as a Village Hall at a different time. Many are historically significant buildings with previous lives as village schools, reading rooms, shops and industrial buildings as this book will show.

The book uncovered how halls have been used in times of crisis such as hosting evacuated children from Tyneside, being requisitioned for the war effort then the ensuing battle for their return to communities up to decades later. They have acted as emergency respite centres such as during Storm Arwen and delivering food parcels during Covid. 

Northumberland’s 150+ Village Halls have been the main venue for communal activities for many years. They are central to the shared memories of generations of local people.

Our thanks to everyone who has contributed to this book, especially the volunteers who worked so hard to gather the heritage information for future generations to enjoy.

You can read more about the heritage with our companion website at

Buy a book

We have a limited number of discounted copies from our initial print run available for £20. Once these are sold out you can buy the book from the Great British Bookshop for £30 + delivery. Contact to buy a reduced-price copy whilst stocks last.