Memories of the old Reading Room – some happy, some sad – were relived on Saturday night (19 October 2019) when villagers gathered to celebrate its centenary.
At a special supper, organised and funded by the Reading Room management and social club committees, guests were treated to a “premiere” viewing of a newly-edited video compiled from old films taken when the building was just a wooden hut.
Shot by Rosemary Toppping and Eric Clarke, the film showed conditions inside the building back in the 1990s and how it was demolished and rebuilt in 1999.
Familiar – but younger – faces from the village could be spotted throughout the film which also featured writer, broadcaster and Norfolk mardler, Keith Skipper at the opening ceremony.
To mark 20 years since the new Reading Room was completed, Rosemary recalled her days back in the ’60s when the hut was the local youth club and “the lads from neighbouring villages would cycle to the club”. A “bar” and kitchen were added in the ’70s – “just a bench really” – but despite having no running water, it was used for parties and christenings.
Over subsequent years, it fell into disrepair and in 1992, Rosemary and friends organising that year’s Burgh fête agreed to start fund raising. The new Reading Room was completed and officially opened by Keith Skipper on 20 November 1999.
The delicious hog-roast supper with all the trimmings and side dishes was prepared and served by award-winning Hevingham butchers, Clarke’s. This was followed by the star attraction – the Centenary Cake, baked and decorated by Helen Diggines. The sponge cake with green icing featured four “edible” photos on the old Reading Room transferred to the cake using rice paper.
After the meal, guests danced the night away to the sounds of rockabilly band Bleaky and the Meerkats.