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History of Overton Community Centre

The 1700s and 1800s

The New Inn was built in the 1750s on the site where we currently see Overton Community Centre. There were definitely houses and probably an ale house on the site prior to that. The New Inn would have come out closer to the junction of the cross roads, as the White Hart does now, but Winchester Street had the Market House in the middle so the road was still wide.

In 1754, the road through Overton was turnpiked (London to Exeter) which brought trade and wealth to the village. It meant Overton could support two sizeable inns. The New Inn had 12 rooms. Latterly, the New Inn changed its name to the Poyntz Arms after a notable huntsman from Newbury who stayed there. By the middle of the 19th century, the effects of the expanding rail network were being felt and the Poyntz Arms closed its doors in 1856.

A local solicitor and Basingstoke councillor with roots in Overton, George Lamb, bought the site of the former inn and funded the building of a school there. He also bought a site in Red Lion Lane for an infant school. In 1868, Overton National School opened in the heat of the village. 

Robert Morgan-Macdonald History


The Community Centre building was the third National School in Overton, the first having been in the Workhouse (on Dellands) and the second just north of the Test on Kingsclere Road. National schools were run by a charity affiliated to the church with a particular emphasis on moral education in early days; 'national' being an abbreviation of "National Society for Promoting Religious Education". 

Girls were educated in what is now the Library, and boys in what we call the Club Room. The signage for boys and girls entrances can still be seen. The headmaster lived in an attached house at the south end of the building and now forms the Palmer room, disabled toilet and storage. In 1898, a third classroom was added which is now used by Overton Playgroup. By the time of Word War II, the age of the building was becoming a problem and the primary school moved up the hill to the Lordsfield site in 1956, close to the current primary school. The infants then moved from Red Lion Lane into the village centre site. In 1978, the infants also moved up to Lordsfield and George Lamb's school closed.

Robert Morgan-Macdonald History

Community Centre

In 1978, the former school was handed over to Overton Community Association (OCA), a newly created charity, for day-to-day running. Hampshire County Council (HCC) retained the freehold. In 1984, the building was listed. In 1982, improvements were made: construction of indoor toilets for the playgroup; repairs to the playroom roof; the cloakroom and Library roofs were stripped and re-felted, and the clock tower reconstructed at a cost of more than £100k (funded by a grant from Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council). Later, a small grant from the Lottery Fund enabled the fitting of sound-proofed doors between the playroom and the Club Room. In 2010-12, a major refurbishment was carried out in two phases paid for by local fundraising, developers' contribution monies and funding from HCC.

In 2015, instead of a lease renewal due in 2016, HCC offered to sell the Centre to the OCA for £1 with the OCA taking on all responsibility for managing the building, including repairs. The Community Centre is now run and managed by a group of Trustees. If you'd like to find out about becoming a Trustee, please use the Contact page.