New life for WW2 Nissan huts

Author: Mary Vacca

Published on: 25 June 2017

The story of the huts begins during the Second World War.

Two Nissen huts were built in the garden of the Vicarage to accommodate the military who were stationed here. There were various installations around the village which were operated by military personnel, such as search lights and listening stations.

After the war one of the huts was used as a village hall as the old hall was destroyed by an explosion with the loss of some lives.

Following the 1953 floods the casualties were taken to the hut.

In the 1950s the Vicarage was sold but the ownership of the Nissen huts and the land on which they stand was retained by the church.

When the new village hall was built one of the huts was used for all manner of storage and the other was used for workshops of various kinds.

When churches were encouraged to make their buildings more user friendly we felt that our church would not be suitable for installing toilet and kitchen facilities, not only does the church building not lend itself to those sort of alterations, the cost of adding an extension would have been far more that we could have achieved. As the area known as Vicarage Pightle is just a short walk from the church, in 2005, we started to explore the possibility of upgrading the Nissen huts and building a Church Room on some of the land, which would contain all the facilities. We thought about the possibility of demolishing the buildings and starting from scratch but decided against it for several reasons. Firstly the huts are an integral part of the history of Sea Palling and many people would have been very upset if we had taken that course. And of course the cost would have been prohibitive partly because they are mainly made of asbestos cement and the cost of removing that would have been enormous.

The Church Room contains a kitchen and two toilets and a small comfortable meeting room.

One of the huts has as a stage. We have decorated and upgraded it as far as is possible bearing in mind the age and the construction of these buildings. In fact we are in the last stage of repairing and upgrading a storage room at the front of hut No.1 which will be very useful.

No.2 hut is rented out which is a great help with the Parish Share. At the rear of the property there is a grassed area which can be used as a car park or for outdoor activities.

We use No. 1 hut for a range of activities such as sales, activities for the children, concerts and sing-a-longs, strawberry teas for the residents of a local care home and anything else where we need a large space. The local
singing group practice in the hut every week.

The Church Room is used for meetings, both for the church and other organizations in the village who require a smaller venue than the village hall. A monthly lunch and a monthly scrabble club are held in the Church Room as it is comfortable and easy to heat. Guests at functions in the church are able to use the facilities in the Church Room for which they are grateful.

The author...

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Mary Vacca

Churchwarden, Sea Palling (Parish)

Beach Road
NR12 0AL

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