Caerwedros Memorial Hall was erected by local residents who were keen to commemorate their friends and neighbours who were lost in the Second World War. The idea was first raised in November 1945 and a steering committee was formed in February 1946. Funding was raised locally and grant-aid was sought.
A gift of land was received from the Jenkins family, Argwm, and it was decided to try to erect an extensive hall on a plot of land adjoining Derw House, Caerwedros. While still planning, a temporary hall was erected on a plot of land on the upper side of the same field in 1951 at a cost of £1,557 pounds and 10 shillings. That hall was officially opened on Friday evening, 29 February 1952, by our benefactor Mrs Mary Jenkins, Argwm.
The temporary hall was such a success that it was decided to forget about the original scheme and the temporary land holding was transferred to the ownership of local Trustees, a gift from the Argwm family, in May 1954. The first trustees were:
John Lloyd Jones, Penparcau
Evan Owen Evans, Arlwyn
John Griffiths, Bron Villa
Ieuan Davies, Hafod Iwan
Daniel Elwyn Hughes, Cyffionos
Jacob Thomas Jones, Llwynhenwas
Evan John Morris, Dre-fach
John Jones, Llain-frân
Ben Thomas, Croes Castell, a former headteacher at Caerwedros, was instrumental in the founding of the hall. He, as Secretary, and 25 other individuals were elected to form the first official committee of 26, including representatives of the area's prominent societies.
Prior to the building of the hall local groups and clubs met at the school and in the local chapels (Capel Neuadd, Nanternis Chapel, Pen-sarn Chapel and Llwyndafydd Chapel). A local eisteddfod was held for some years at the school. But the advent of the hall brought new resources and opportunities to the area. It became a major social centre. Concerts and plays were held at the hall, as well as hosting an annual eisteddfod. It became home to associations such as the Young Farmers Club and the Women's Institute and it opened its doors three times a week for informal meetings and sports activities. In the 1970s the Urdd Adran and Ysgol Feithrin were established at the hall and were very popular with the younger generations for decades.
Caerwedros YFC has a strong connection with the hall from the outset. In the early 1970s the club was very innovative in theatrical circles. They produced a Welsh-medium pantomime directed by the local vicar, Rev Bernard Evans, and the local poet and TV entertainer, Tydfor Jones. The success of the pantomime was such that they inspired the officers of Theatr Felin-fach, which had just been established in the Aeron Valley. Felin-fach’s pantomimes grew to be a large cultural oak. But the original acorn was planted here in Caerwedros.
By the early 1990s the hall had been used consistently for a period of 40 years; and although maintenance work had been carried out regulary, a significant restoration was required. The hall was thoroughly renovated in 1993, mainly through the generous donations of local residents and some public grants. Dedicated storage rooms were installed and sound and lighting equipment was obtained to facilitate various performances and events. The refurbishment ensured that the hall remained a key hub of the local community.
By 2005, with the increased use and popularity of the hall, parking had become an issue. Further land was sought from the descendants of the Argwm family and plans were afoot to raise money to install a car park. By December 2006 everything was in place for the committee to start work on the project in earnest. However, in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2007 the hall was hit by lightning and the building was burned to a cinder.
The committee had to seriously consider options for the future of the Hall. An extensive local consultation was facilitated and there emerged a strong consensus that the rebuilding the hall on the new extended site was the best option. A modern multi-purpose hall was designed and grants were attracted to fund the building work from The Big Lottery Fund, Welsh Government and Ceredigion County Council. In the meantime local groups and associations were fortunate to avail themselves of the facilities at Nanternis Vestry and Pen-cnwc Caravan Park.
After a period of almost seven years’ work and costs of around £450,000, Caerwedros Memorial Hall rose as a phoenix from the ashes and the new hall was opened on 28 September 2013. The hall is now busier than ever and remains central to the life and culture of our vibrant local community, as well as attracting occasional users from far and wide. Long may that continue - hir oes i Neuadd Caerwedros!.