St Anne’s Hall

The hall was first opened in 1884 using a gift of £2000 given by Miss Elizabeth Bertie-Mathew who wanted to provide a place of relaxation for the working men of Babbacombe.  She was a regular visitor from London and worshiped at All Saints Church in Babbacombe.  In the 1881 Census she was found living in Wilton Crescent, St George Hanover Square in London, but she obviously visited Babbacombe quite often and took an interest in the welfare of the working men of the parish. The Hall was designed by Mr Fulford of Exeter and built by a local builder, Mr F Matthews.  The building is a good 19th Century composition in late decorated Arts & Crafts style, constructed in local limestone with the window surrounds, mullions and decorative banding in ham-stone. In fact It is one of the oldest Arts & Craft designed Halls in Devon. The purpose of the building was to provide a place of recreation for working men of Babbacombe and according to the Torquay Directory who reported on the opening ceremony “the workingmen of Babbacombe have just had provided for their use an Institute at which they can spend their spare hours, with the advantage of reading the news, enjoying various pastimes and with facilities for securing refreshments of a non intoxicating kind”.

The Parish Church continued to administer the use of the building until January 2002 when they built a new hall situated alongside the church, and St Anne’s Hall became derelict and unused. A group of four Trustees took over the ownership with the intention of using it for the community, and it has since been refurbished with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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