Leyton Hall

"A spacious and comfortable hall"

Leyton Hall, Amenbury Lane, lies behind the old White Palace cinema (converted in Strada restaurant from 2011-12 to 2017), and facing onto Leyton Green.  It was described as:

“A spacious and comfortable hall, giving ample accommodation for private dances, whist drives, meetings, parties, wedding receptions, auctions sales, etc.  It is centrally heated, well lighted, and possesses an excellent dance floor, 30×30 feet, together with a stage, a good kitchen, water-heaters, and all modern appliances.”

Leyton Hall, c.1935. Credit: LHS archives

Its heyday must have been the inter-war years.  Does anyone have recollections?

Since ceasing to be a community hall, Leyton Hall has been used by a number of businesses, including W.J Hatt & Co., engineering, and most recently for Electrical – supplies.

In March 2010, planning permission was granted for a change of use from ‘light industrial’ to ‘assembly and leisure’.  In January 2011 work began on transformation, apparently into a gym (see photos below). In 2014 Chilli Pilates opened.

Leyton Hall, original interior. Credit: LHS archives

Leyton Hall – Electrical, c.2008. Credit: Les Casey

Interior of Electrical, c.2008. Credit: Les Casey

January 2011 – refurbishment underway. Credit: Rosemary Ross

January 2011 – interior, stripped out. Credit: Rosemary Ross

Rear of Leyton Hall, during renovation, February 2011. Credit: Rosemary Ross

Chilli Pilates. Credit: LHS archives – R. Ross, 2016

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  • Leyton Hall took over the functions of the demolished Vaughan Hall in lower Vaughan Road. A press cutting of 22 June 1934 from the Harpenden Free Press announced that:

    “A scheme of building development involving the pulling down of the present premises of the Waverley Mills, fronting the Lower High Street, Harpenden, and the Vaughan Hall, is shortly to take effect.

    “For several years the manufacture of hosiery and sports wear has been carried on at the Mills, and the business is, it is understood, to be transferred to new premises which are being built on the site of the old Cinema on the corner of Amenbury Lane [In fact they moved into the empty cinema.]

    “On the vacant site in Lower High Street shops and business premises are to be developed by Mr C L Gillow (of Messrs Gray, Phillips & Co.). To afford a satisfactory back entrance to these, Vaughan Hall is to come down. For years this building has been used by the Harpenden School of Dancing, and for meetings, social events of all kinds, auction sales and physical training for children of the Council Schools.

    “Mr Gillow proposes to replace the hall with a more palatial and up-to-date building adjoining the new premises of the Mills on the Amenbury Lane site, to be known probably as Leyton Hall. It is to be properly equipped for social events of all kinds.

    “It is expected that the proposed development will be completed by the end of September.”

    The new shops in Lower High Street were occupied by Sainsbury’s, Boots and Woolworths. 

    By Rosemary Ross (26/07/2018)

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