History of community facilities at Leek Wootton
Leek Wootton War Memorial Recreation Ground
The Village Hall stands on Leek Wootton War Memorial Recreation Ground, the first part of which was purchased in memory of the eighteen men from the community who gave their lives during World War I. The community raised the money to buy the land (less than half of the current site) from Sir Wathen Waller, Bt, of Woodcote (now Warwickshire Police Headquarters) and Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh. The ground was opened in 1921. In 1931 a tennis court was laid out (in the vicinity of the current car park) and in 1933 a bowling green (in the north-east corner).
Arboretum & Memorial
A small commemorative arboretum has been developed on the eastern part of the land, adjacent to the Warwick Road. The first tree was an oak planted in 1970 for the European Conservation Year.
The local Royal British Legion branch erected the memorial stone (a four-ton block of quartzite) at the entrance to the recreation ground in 1988.
The WI Hut / Village Hall
In 1926 Leek Wootton Women’s Institute erected an ex-World War I barrack hut on the Recreation Ground for its own use and that of the community and for over 50 years it provided a venue for meetings, dances, community suppers, flower shows, pantomimes, as well as providing a regular venue for playgroups, Brownies and Guides, a youth club, dancing classes, and many more clubs and societies.
In 1979 the WI was no longer able to afford its upkeep and it was handed over to a committee of residents and became the Village Hall. The old timber building lasted until 1996, when it was condemned as being unsafe.
At this time, with the support of the community, National Lottery Fund and District Council, money was raised to build a new purpose-built Village Hall for the benefit of the community and it was opened on Saturday, 22 May 1999.
Working Men’s Club & Sports Club
Over the last century the Recreation Ground has been expanded and developed, to create a more appropriately sized and shaped cricket field. An original cricket pavilion was built and then relocated, before being removed in 1988, with plans in place to redevelop the site.
The Working Men’s Club had a clubhouse built in the south-west corner in 1964 and when it was forced to close in 1989, the building was bought by the Sports Club and redeveloped, abandoning the old pavilion site plans.
In 1965 the Parish Council leased an area in the north-west corner for a children’s playground, but in 1988 it had the opportunity to purchase a piece of land adjacent to the recreation ground from the developers of neighbouring Quarry Fields and created a fenced and dedicated children’s playground.
The Community Hub & the future
In May 2018 the Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Plan was approved by referendum and adopted by the District Council. It includes the Recreation Ground and community facilities thereon as the Leek Wootton & Guy’s Cliffe Community Hub, thereby committing to maintaining and improving this wonderful community asset for the future.
Information and photographs courtesy of Leek Wootton History Group