Glenfield War Memorial Hall

Glenfield War Memorial Hall

Persistence paid off at Glenfield Hall and soldiers’ memorial garden, built to honour 14 local men who died in the war. The hall was opened in 1934.

Past and present

Raising money for the hall

During the First World War, Glenfield residents met to raise money for a proposed public hall. Finally in 1932 the Glenfield Hall Reserve Society was incorporated, and a site for a new hall was decided on. The land for the hall was bought from the Auckland Education Board for the sum of £50.

Building the hall

Fifteen local families mortgaged their homes to raise funds to build the hall, and Philip Hogan acted as guarantor for the £855 bank loan, offering his farm as security. The hall was designed by architect Thomas Coulthard Mullions (1878-1957) and built by S K Alexander of Northcote.

Opening the Hall

In February 1934, Local MP, Mr Alexander Harris opened the hall, along with the soldiers' memorial garden to acknowledge the loss of 14 local men in the First World War. A large crowd gathered for the official opening, despite rain on the day. The president of the Glenfield Hall Reserve Society Inc and the Mayors of Birkenhead and Devonport spoke at the event. The Waitemata County Chairman was also present.

Reflecting on the length of time it took to secure a site for the hall and raise the necessary funds, the Auckland Star newspaper reported: "Often it had been said that the two most improbable things were the Glenfield Hall and the harbour bridge. The hall was now an accomplished fact, and they hoped that soon the harbour bridge would be built."

By 1936 there was a real danger of defaulting on the mortgage payments. Unbeknown to his wife, Philip Hogan mortgaged their farm to cover the £603 outstanding mortgage.

Dances

Glenfield Hall boasted the largest dance floor in Auckland, and frequently hosted concerts and Saturday night dances.

Becoming a war memorial

In 1947, government subsidies became available for community facilities designated as war memorials, and the Glenfield Hall Reserve Society Inc became the Glenfield War Memorial Domain Board. Money was raised to upgrade the hall and build memorial pillars on the site. The hall became known as the Glenfield War Memorial Hall.

In 1949, architect Thomas Mullions drew up a plan for a supper room, but this was not added until 2003. Two memorial pillars were built instead in 1950.

Waitemata Council took over management of the hall in 1966. From 1974 the hall was managed by Takapuna Council.

Renovating the hall

In the 1980s North Shore City Council acquired the hall, but by the 1990s it was falling into disrepair. The Council, Glenfield Community Board and the Hillcrest Lions Club contributed to the renovation of the hall, which included a re-designed memorial using brick from the original memorial pillars.

Glenfield's first Anzac Day service at the memorial was held in 1997. The re-dedication took place in 1998, and it became a tradition at each service for a family member to speak about their relative who went to war. In 2001 the Hillcrest Lions took over an ongoing lease which included responsibility for the maintenance and further refurbishment of the hall. A civic ceremony to dedicate the Garden of Remembrance to the Glenfield Community was held in 2002. This recognised the contribution of the people of Glenfield to the war effort. The plaque was paid for equally by the Council, Rotary and Hillcrest Lions.

The supper room, built in 2003, was opened by Governor General, Dame Silvia Cartwright in March 2004. The room was dedicated to long-time resident Bruce Powell, who was integral in getting the hall refurbished, the memorial re-dedicated, and the new Anzac Day services underway.

In 2005 North Shore City Council planted additional trees ahead of the 2006 Anzac Day service. The Council funded further refurbishments in 2006.

Photo credits

Cover image

Inaugural Anzac Day service at Glenfield War Memorial Hall, 1997. North Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, G0023.

Thumbnail image

Fancy dress party in the Glenfield War Memorial Hall, 1935. North Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, IDG0116.

Sources

Auckland Star and North Shore Times newspapers

Bruce Petry, Glenfield Hall: a cultural heritage assessment, 1997.

"Selected chronology of events", in The Journal: Glenfield Life & Times, issue 2, pp.49-54.

"Glenfield War Memorial Hall and Reserve Historical Development chronology", in The Journal: Glenfield Life & Times, issue 4, p.79.

Additional information provided by Philippa Templeton and Bruce Powell.

Location

511 Glenfield Road, Glenfield