Dolly Hall was acquired in 1962. When purchased the Hall was in a very poor state of repair.
Former teacher and founding Trustee Mr. John McGee can be thanked for lots of the skilled maintenance works from 1962 to the present day. John was a driving force behind the initial task of making the property structurally sound and has undertaken a whole host of jobs from the production of staircases, window frames, glazing, making dormitory beds and furniture, decorating and ground maintenance.
A lot of the initial work in making the Hall safe, dry and habitable was completed remotely, in the class rooms of Brookfield School, Kirkby. This involved lots of pupils doing their part along the way. Mr. McGee remains a Trustee of the charity to this day and still spends time at Dolly Hall.
Mr. Bob Downing first visited the Hall in 1966. Bob has been involved as a Trustee of the Hall for over 40 years. Bob and his family, along with a committed team of volunteers have worked hard for the cause during this time and have done a fantastic job in keeping the Hall going. With hard work, care and dedication they have ensured the Hall is still running today, taking care of both the administrative side of the charity in addition to the ongoing repairs, maintenance, and improvements at the Hall too. Of course during the last 50 years we have taken hundreds of groups of young people to the Hall on working parties too. You yourself may be able to stake a claim in having painted a dormitory, the lounge or the outside of the property itself.
We have also received invaluable assistance and support from those who first visited the Hall as children only to return as adults to help the cause as trained electricians, roofers and plumbers etc. Very recently one of our ex child visitors returned to the Hall with his electrical installation company and re-wired the whole building.
In 2010 an ex-pupil returned to the Hall with a team of Building Surveyors who spent 2 days undertaking general, structural and timber surveys on the entire Hall. This resulted in a fully costed schedule of essential works being drawn up. We are looking to raise the funding to enable the works to be completed
This will include timber repairs and treatments, repairs and maintenance to the external fabric of the property, roof and chimney repairs, complete window replacements (they are 144 years old!), plus a full internal refurbishment.
To date we have not secured the major funding we need so much, but you have helped us raise sufficient funds for us to undertake some important improvements in recent years.
During the last 3 years we have managed to replace all 27 wooden, sash windows at Dolly Hall. We replaced them all with double glazed units maintaining the Georgian look by using astrical bars. The photographs below show the Hall during and after the works. The window replacement was masterminded by Keith Owen, who visited the Hall several times as a boy and Total Glass of Kirkby supplying the windows at a super discount price. We are very grateful to Keith and Total Glass
Removing dorm 1 windows
All this work was done in ONE day!
Dorm 1 window complete
Dormitories 1 & 2 have also seen a refurb. As well as complete redecoration, gone are the old wardrobes, mattresses and worn vinyl tiles; in are neat bedside cupboards, wall coat hangers, new mattresses, new pillows and new vinyl flooring. This was all made possible through the help of St Christopher's Home Trust, Steve Doyle and Johnson Controls, Adam Medway of Abbey Engineering, Andy of C.T.E Supplies Ltd & Kev & Vinnie Sheerin.
Dorm 1 early stages
No turning back now!
Well worth it!
We also had the chimney removed from the roof above dormitory 4 where it was causing a leak into the bedroom below. This work was undertaken by George Barton Roofing - his wife Anita and both of their sons visited Dolly Hall as children. The Dolcorsllwyn Hall Association welcomes the help and assistance we receive from all parties but it is particularly heart-warming when those who benefited from the Hall as children have the urge to return as adults to put something back. As can be seen from the photos below there is still much more work to do on the roof of dorm 4 and this is one of our major aims for the year ahead.
Roof with chimney removed
The whole roof needs re-slating
This chimney is next!
In addition to these larger projects, the pool room has had new carpet tiles and, together with furniture and curtains from Brookfield and Springfield schools when they closed, the room has had a major uplift. The pool table has been re-covered, Virgin Media bought us a new table tennis table and then we discovered a downpipe leak into the dining room wall. The jobs never end!
Pool Room facelift
New table tennis table
Oh No! Leaking downpipe
We decided to take back control of the grounds from the trees and bushes which have been reducing the lawn size considerably and have become a bit dangerous even for manhunt at night. This coincided with the heaviest period of rain for many years and we had to hire machinery to ease the drainage.
Dangerous broken branches
Re-Grading the drainage
Looks good again!
In November 2012 a team of Senior Managers from Virgin Media held a Volunteers Event at the Hall. During their team-building exercise they worked extremely hard and carried out the following tasks at the Hall Photographed below, Members of the Virgin Media team hard at work for the cause:-
The Virgin Media team did the Dolly Hall Car Treasure Hunt on Day One (ending up in the Red Lion for dinner ? they just found it by chance!!) Day Two saw them clean the whole house from top to bottom, clean all the windows inside and out, jet wash the walls, paint the cellar and front entrance & clear the grounds of autumn leaves. Great job well done! We are extremely grateful to Virgin Media for all they did for the Hall.
A sunny weekend in March 2015 saw the Trustees head down to the Hall supported by a group of volunteers from Melling Primary School for a weekend of work.
A builder's skip, cherry picker and materials were ordered in advance and the group set about undertaking some major works
First on the list was the removal of the four 6 foot chimney stacks located above Dorm 3. The fireplaces are not used for heating anymore and it was felt that these ageing giants needed to be lowered to a safer height.
The four chimneys were made up of over 600 bricks and so it was a big job to bring them down safely.
Two Down... Two to go...
No fish biting for John today...
During the weekend we also undertook works to remove the old lath and plaster ceiling from the former Warden's Room as this had become loose. This was a messy job, with 160 years' worth of dust and dirt sat above the plaster.
First it was off with the plaster...
Then for the lath timber beneath……
Then for the 5,000 nails sat in each joist...
Did we say it was dirty work?...
And finally a new ceiling fitted all ready for plastering...
We also undertook additional works to the new windows, with vents fitted to all 27 windows, completely free of charge by former pupil Keith Owen, this to assist ventilation throughout the 160 year old property.
We also took full advantage of the cherry picker to clear out all gutters and roof gullies.
It was a fantastic weekend's work and has taught us just how much can be done in a short space of time with enough hands on deck.
The main priorities for the remainder of 2015 are as follows:-:
Loft Insulation – We would welcome anybody who has experience of supplying/fitting to contact us.
Internal plastering – we need to plaster the ceiling above the main staircase and the ceiling and walls of the former Warden's room (see below).
External rendering – Parts of the external fascia of the property are in poor condition and need urgent repairs.
Gutters & Downpipes – We need to repair/replace and seal guttering and downpipes to ensure watertight and prevent water from entering the fabric of the property.
External Decoration – Following completion of the above works we plan to paint the exterior of the entire property. This has not been done for many years and will be a big task. It is essential we carry this out in order to keep the property watertight and prevent damp from affecting the timber and internal fabric.
In the current economic climate it is set to be another challenging year for Dolly Hall, but we are confident that with the help and support of those who care for the Hall we can make it a successful year. The team remains focused and determined to meet our objective and ensure the Hall is preserved for future generations of children to enjoy. This task becomes easier with the help of others, so let's make this a great year for Dolly Hall, get in touch at email@example.com
With your help we can safeguard the Hall's future, so please support in whatever way you can.