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Soldiers' Memorial Hall.


OPENED YESTERDAY BY ; COLONEL RHODES. i Yesterday afternoon marked the consummation of a hope that has long been cherished by the residents of Lakeside, namely, the official opecing of a magnificent public hall i which should prove equal to the needs of the district for many years to come, The disabilities under , which the Lakeside district has , laboured for a lengthy period through j the absence of a suitable building in , which the people could meet together in social intercourse, or to enjoy themselves with song and music, cannot well be imagined except by people in districts where the same state of affairs prevails, and fortunately, all other parts of Ellesmere have been better, situated in this respect than has Lakeside. In many places the public school is made use of and serves the purpose very well. This was so at Lakeside up to the time the old school building was destroyed seven years ago, but when the new school was built the Board of Education took care to see that it was divided into two small rooms, neither of which was large enough to hold more than about half the people who desired to attend social functions. The residents suffered under this handicap until a little over three years ago, when a movement in the direction of collecting funds for the building of a public hail was started. The prospects of success were then vary bright, and there was,no doubt that a hall would soon have been built, but three years ago to-day the war broke out and the Hall Committee at once decided to abandon the proposal until peace was restored. Many peo* Die at that time expected the

war to be of only a few months' duration, but the dawning of 1915 soon dispelled that idea. It is safe to say that at no period in the history of Canterbury have so many public gatherings been held in both town and country districts within a given time as during the last three years. This, of course, caused the Lakeside people to feel their position more acutely than ever, and about nine months ago the decision not to build until after the war was reviewed, but the question of finance formed such a big obstacle that it was again agreed to allow the matter, to stand 'over, Soon after this, however, a generous and well known -local lady, came to the rescue and undertook to find free of interest for a stated period the money required over and above the amount subscribed by the residents. This splendid offer was accepted and at the lady's suggestion it was decided to have a splendid brick building erected and to dedicate it to the memory of the Lakeside soldiers taking part in the war, Plans were soon prepared by Mi Hamilton, a.Chrlstchurch architect, and in due course the tender ol Messrs Faynter and Hamilton was accepted for the erection of the hall* The contract has been carried out faithfully, with the aid of many local residents who carted the ma. terials and helped in other ways, and Lakeside now has a hall oi which it has good cause to feel very proud. The inside measurements of the main room are 50ft by 31ft, with a high stud. There is a 6ft vestibule at the front ent ranee, on each side of which is a retiring room 12ft by 9ft. A stage 2ift by 9ft has been erected and there is a large suppei room at the back, running the full width of 31ft by 10ft deep, with a ! set-in copper in an adjacent room. The hall has an atI tractive front elevation, two large folding entrance doors, with a neat window on either side, while the words " Soldiers' Memorial Hall" appear in large letters above the entrance. The clerk ,of the weather was very unkind to the people -of Lakeside for heavy rain fell throughout the greater part of yesterday and greatly interfered with the attendance. However the opening was witnessed by a large and representative gathering. Colonel the Hon. R. Heaton Rhodes, who had come down from Wellington to perform the opening ceremony, was briefly introduced by Mr Schnelle, chairs man of the Hall Committee, who said that the people would agree with him when he said that there was no more popular and conscientious member in the whole of the Dominion than Colonel Rhodes. With a silver key presented to him by the builders Colonel Rhodes opened the door. Mrs B. Patterson cut the tape across the vestibule and the people followed into the building, which was soon well filled. Colonel Rhodes and a number of representative Ellesmere citizens were given seats on the stape, from which they delivered congratulatory speeches. Mr Schnelle gave the full history of the hall movement on the lines set out above. People of other districts when asked if they would attend a social at Lakeside were in the habit of replying that it wss no use going there because the school would not bold half the people The absence of a suitable place in which the people could meet for social and other purposes had long been a reproach to Lakeside, but that reproach had at last been removed, and he felt jusified in saying that no other country district of the same size in the Dominion had a finer hall than the one they had opened that day, MrSchnelle spoke very highly of the public spiritedness of the lady who had advanced a sub* s'antial sum of money free of interest

for several years, and who had given that hct name was not to b e mentioned. He also referred Ito the generosity of Mr John Me-. Lacblan, who had given such \ splendid site, and to the fiae^Mfr shown by the residents in carßn? the building materials, weighing r. over a hundred tons, and others who had helped with furnishings. A roll of hononr was Jbeiog presented by Mr R. Patterson, but it was not ready for unveiling that day. The chairman paid a high compliment to the builders. The contract for the hall was £"699, and of this sum just on had been raised by public subscriptions, about two-thirds off it having been paid in by Lakeside residents. Lakeside was a rich fer~ tile district and he was confident that the population would greatly increase in the future and that the creamery corner would some day become an important and busy centre, Colonel Rhodes, who was greeted with warm applause, said he regreeted being unable to come down from Wellington on the previous day, which was the day first set apart for the opening. To have done so would have meant leaving Wellington on Wednesday evening, so that he would have been in bis place in Parliament for only one full day this week. He had beard it said that he was responsible for the wet weather, but he could not claim any responsibility in that connexion. However, they would all agree that the rain would do the countryside an immense amount of good. It gave him great pleasure, indeed, to be present and to offer them bis hearty congratulation upon having built such a splendid hall. It was also very pleasing to hear that the people of the district had done so much towards the building and furnishing of the hall. They had shown a very commendable spirit and he hoped 1 that the same spirit would prevail in , the future, v Knowing how much work was usually left to the chairman in connexion with such schemed* as the erection of a hall, he could heartily compliment Mr; Sch nelle upon the manner in which he had helped to bring the movement to a successful issue. It seemed only a comparatively short time since he had opened the hall at Sedgemere. He had board it said that one hall was sufficient for the two disi|icts, but he was thankful that be was not called upon to decide that .. question fot them. If they had asked him he would probably have said one hall was enough, for it would mean one speech less at election time. (Laughter). He could heartily congratulate them .upon the fine hall they bad built, and upon their decision tq call it* the Soldiers', Memorial Hall. It would I prove very useful to the district! in many ways, besides being a permanent memorial of the part Lakesidgjol- ; diera were taking 1 in the war. JT I We had now reached thothird anniversary of the declaration ot war and the question that was concerning everybody was: How much longer would the conflict last ? It was at first thought by many people that the war would last only a few months, but great leaders like Gen* eral Joffre and Lord Kitchener had realised that it was going to be a long struggle, and they had made their plans accordingly. General Joffre had been credited with saying years before the war broke out that the next war would be a captains' and a sergeants' war, that the fighting would .be done in trenches. His prophesy^ had proved correct. The fault with great Britain was that she had been* inclined to take her enemies too cheaply. This had been the case with the South African war and notwithstanding the experience gained at that time the same mistake had been made in the early stages of this war. However, our Empire was now organised as it had never been organised before and the Allies were determined to crush German militarism. There were people who said that New Zealand had done enough and that she should slacken her efforts, but was this country going to shelter behind America? The Dominions had played a great part in the war and our slackening off might lead to similar action on the part of the other outlying portions of the Empire. He felt sure they : would agree with him when he said it would be a great mistake not to keep up our reinforcements. He would again congratulate the Lakeside people on having such a fine hall. Speeches were made by Messrs C. H. Piper, J. S. Boag, A. T. Robertson, J. C. Free, J. T. Parkin R. M. Taiaroa, J. Storry, F. J. Holley and R. Patterson and Sgt-Major Shilton. Mrs Rolph contributed a song and§Miss Falkener a pianoforte solo. Afternoon tea was dispensed by £he

IdUICS. Last night a successful concert was held, followed by a dance.

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Bibliographic details

Soldiers' Memorial Hall., Ellesmere Guardian, Volume XXIII, Issue 3891, 4 August 1917

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Soldiers' Memorial Hall. Ellesmere Guardian, Volume XXIII, Issue 3891, 4 August 1917

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