The original War Memorial Institute



The Institute Hall was set up both as a memorial to those people from Malpas who sacrificed their lives in the Great War of 1914 to 1918 but also as part of a growing trend to provide leisure and educational facilities for ordinary people. A roll of honour was produced for display in the new hall. Unusually, for this type of memorial, everyone who served in the war was included on the plaque and not just those who had lost their lives in battle. In fact when the Hall was reopened after a period of disuse,in the 1970s as a Community Opportunities project centre, Colonel Phillips who with his father was included on the original roll of honour attended the opening ceremony.

Money was raised by public subscription and fund raising activities. The land was owned by Edward Steer who lived opposite Malpas Court on Malpas Road. It was given in trust to the Institute with the provisor that the hall should be used “ for the advantage and benefit of all residents of good character in the parish of Malpas without distinction of any kind as a place of recreation and social intercourse”

The list of subscribers include some well known local people who gave from 6d to £100. Raising a total of £830. 6 shillings. (According to the Bank of New Zealand’s calculator)

One pound in 1919 would be worth about £46 in 2005. Therefore £100 would be worth £4600 and £10 worth £460 which is the amount that Lord Tredegar donated to the fund. A fete appears to have raised a further £701. 5 shillings and 7 pence.

The preface to the accounts shows a wide range of activities and plans to build a bowling green and a tennis court. (does anyone know if these plans were realised?)

The centre had a library and provided newspapers and periodicals. Concerts and debates were also held. It was more than half a century before Malpas had its own official library and community centre.

The trust deed stipulated that no intoxicating liquor should be consumed in the hall and not used for the purposes of any particular church, religious denomination, sect or political party.
Not surprising perhaps that it fell into disuse. In the 1970s it had a short reprieve when COIN (Community Opportunities in Newport) took over the building but it was demolished in 1981 and the land sold to Newport District Council for £35,000. The current Larch Court Housing complex was eventually built on the site.The Memorial board showing the names of those who served in the First World War is now on display in the Community Centre.

The fund remained with the Charity Commission until the present trust was set up.

William Goodman and William Bishop

William Goodman was killed in action in the First World War and was awarded the Military Medal. This evidence came to light in the early 1980s when Queenie Bishop wrote to the local press with memories of the Institute. Her husband William Bishop was the son of William Goodman’s sister. ( William was one of three sons and three sisters)

William Goodman’s father came to Malpas in around 1850 to work as a butler at Malpas Court House. He had one son and one daughter.
Queenie’s husband was also a William. His father, William Bishop was one of the original subscribers to the fund (Go to Subscribers page)