The Forest Row Village Hall

A History of Community Events

The Forest Row Village Hall was built in 1892 by the Freshfield family as a memorial gift for the people of Forest Row. For over 100 years the Village Hall has hosted local community events, including political meetings, church entertainments and Sunday school classes, concerts, illustrated talks, jumble sales, play groups, and much more! It has hosted events for the Women’s Institute, Men’s Club, Youth Club, Film Society, British Legion, Ashdown Garden Society, Dramatic Society and the Parish Council. This rich tradition of community events hosting continues today!

Forest Row Village Hall c1900
Photo of The Forest Row Village Hall, 2019

Inside the Village Hall

In the foyer of the Village Hall you will find notice boards, tourist information, and some books for sale. To the left of the foyer is the bookings office, to the right a toilet and a private office. Upstairs are a further two offices. As you enter the foyer, directly in front are the doors to the Freshfield Hall. 
Please note, the entrance to the Peter Griffits Hall and British Legion Committee room is at the other side of the Village Hall, near the pelican crossing traffic lights.

Interior Photo of the Freshfield Hall

The Freshfield Hall

The Freshfield Hall is the largest of our halls for hire and is ideal for events and classes that require space, such as public meetings and lectures, fitness classes and private parties. The large stage area and changing rooms also make the Freshfield Hall a great space for theatrical productions and concerts.

Interior photo of the Peter Griffits Hall

The Peter Griffits Hall

Light and bright, the Peter Griffits Hall is suitable for smaller groups and classes as well as seated meetings such as lectures or AGMs. It is also an ideal size and space for children’s parties!

Photo of the entrance to the Peter Griffits Hall under the cherry blossoms.

The British Legion Committee Room

The British Legion Committee Room is ideal for holding meetings, accommodating approximately 15 people. It has a large table with seating, and is accessed via the lobby of the Peter Griffits Hall.

Memorials & Plaques

The Village Hall is itself a memorial to Henry Freshfield who died in 1891, aged 14. On the outside of the building there are two other plaques, one to the right of the front entrance commemorating the visit of President John F. Kennedy to Forest Row in 1963, and another plaque outside the Peter Griffits Hall, which is now illegible. On the lawn area in front of the hall you can find the war memorial.

Henry Freshfield Memorial Stone

Henry Freshfield Memorial

The Village Hall was built and gifted to the Forest Row community in memory of Henry Freshfield who died in 1891, aged 14. This memorial stone can be found in the foyer of the Village Hall.

Forest Row War Memorial

Directly in front of the Village Hall is a memorial to the men of Forest Row who served and died in the First and Second World Wars. It details the names of 114 people. For more information, please follow this link.

JF Kennedy Commemoration

JFK Commemoration

This stone, unveiled by Harold MacMillan MP, commemorates the visit of President John F. Kennedy to Forest Row in June 1963. JFK was assassinated in November that same year.

The Plaque reads: “This stone commemorates the visit of John Fitzgerald Kennedy 35th President of The United States of America to Forest Row on Sunday 30th June 1963.”

A Registered Charity

The Forest Row Village Hall is registered with the Charity Commission as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), number 1166254. This means that ALL funds raised through the activities of the Village Hall are re-invested into its upkeep and management. The Village Hall does not receive any local authority funding, but relies solely on event hiring income and fundraising activities.

Management Committee

Since 1907 the Village Hall has been administered by a group of volunteer trustees and committee members. Currently trustees and committee members meet once a month to discuss the management of the Village Hall. The Village Hall employs a hall manager who deals with day to day activities, a caretaker, and a cleaner.