History of Niton Village Hall
Since 1823 the Baptists had used the ancient Malthouse (now our Village Hall) as a chapel. When the Baptists were offered a piece of land on which to build a new chapel, the premises could be altered to provide a school for children from Niton and surrounding districts. The school (Niton British School) opened in 1849 and soon there were more than 90 children aged 3 – 13 years attending daily!!
They also had to renovate their “Privies”. They moved the girls’ privy to the south end of the hall but they were still earth closets which were emptied 3 times a week – carried through the infants’ class room!! (The boys had to run up Church Street for their “privy”.)
It seems there was a gallery consisting of tiered seating used in early schools. At one time there were 120 children learning in our village hall.
In 1905 the school moved to its present location. The old Malthouse, Baptist Chapel, British School, then became Niton Village Hall.
Today the Village Hall is still used every week day and often at weekends too, providing a place for clubs (dancing, bowls, art, drama, exercise etc); also for meetings, parties, and coffee mornings. Of course the “privies” improved from earth closets long ago.
(Information about the school taken from book “Showing the Way” by Dorothy Wright)