The hall was opened as Gurnard WI Hall in 1938 on land given to the ladies of the village, by Mr. Westbrook, a local builder. Mrs Westbrook had loaned the money and Mr Westbrook’s building firm had built the hall. The mortgage to Mrs Westbrook was paid in full on July 12th 1946. Mrs Westbrook became the Gurnard W.I president for the next 38 years.
In the years that followed, the hall became a central part of the life of the village and, although it was owned and run by the Gurnard Afternoon Women’s Institute, it was used by many other groups, and by the Home Guard during World war Two. There are fond memories of many couples who met their spouses at local dances in the hall.
Part of the land was sold to the scout movement in the 1950’s to pay for essential repairs to the W.I. Hall. and in 2005, the Gurnard WI was concerned that the hall needed more fundamental repairs. The running costs were barely being matched by the income and fundraising, so the potential for future investment looked bleak. This and an increasingly ageing W.I. membership, and no community help to do the work, led the members to consider how they could relinquish the responsibility and worry of managing the building itself.
In early 2006, local residents became aware of the problem with the long term sustainability of the hall and were alarmed at the possible loss of such a valued community facility. Representations were made to the Parish Council in the hope that intervention might be possible – there was the obvious fear that the site might pass to a developer, and so be lost to the community.
In March 2006, the Parish Council officially heard from the WI of its worries about the building and land, and requested a meeting to try to find a solution and a Community Hall Group was set up to work with the Parish Council to develop a plan.
A meeting with Gurnard WI took place on 11th May and The Parish Council’s proposals to lease the hall for 100 years, and for the hall to be run by a committee of volunteers under terms of Reference to the Parish Council were well received and later approved by the membership of Gurnard W.I..
The Rural Community Council were able to provide volunteer training and grant aid in setting up the Gurnard Village Hall Association. The Association has charitable status and includes representatives of hall users.