For sale: hall 'left to Sidmouth'

PUBLISHED: 06:30 14 June 2016

Sidmouth St John Hall plaque. Ref shs 09-16AW 9578. Picture: Alex Walton

Sidmouth St John Hall plaque. Ref shs 09-16AW 9578. Picture: Alex Walton

Archant

A benefactor would be 'heartbroken' to know a charity is selling the hall she left to the people of Sidmouth, according to her friend.

Logo on the St John Ambulance Hall in Sidmouth. Ref shs 1998-03-16SH. Photo Simon HornLogo on the St John Ambulance Hall in Sidmouth. Ref shs 1998-03-16SH. Photo Simon Horn

Alice Brown had the St John Ambulance Hall built in Blackmore Drive in 1960 as a new base for the cadets in the town to replace their old HQ.

The 300sqm hall was put up for sale this week with commercial property agent Alder King, with a guide price of between £250,000 and £265,000.

The listing says it has potential for redevelopment.

It was constructed in memory of Mrs Brown’s son, who died at the age of four – and Sheelagh Michelmore is eager to ensure a bust of him remains in the town, and that Mrs Brown’s name 
lives on.

St John Ambulance Hall in Sidmouth. Ref shs 1995-03-16SH. Photo Simon HornSt John Ambulance Hall in Sidmouth. Ref shs 1995-03-16SH. Photo Simon Horn

Mrs Michelmore, a long time supporter of the cause, said: “Mrs Brown wanted it for St John Ambulance (SJA) and said it would be useful to the community of Sidmouth. It’s a wonderful location.

“She was very keen on Sidmouth – she opened her home and gardens and even had a zoo. She loved Sidmouth.

“I think she would be heartbroken to know it was being sold.

“I think it is a very sad thing they are doing it this way. The hall was given to Sidmouth SJA for the use of the community. That’s what Mrs Brown wanted. I want something installed so her name is not forgotten.”

Mrs Michelmore said she is sure Mrs Brown signed a covenant leaving the hall to SJA and to the community, although she has not been able to find it.

But an SJA spokesman told the Herald: “We are very clear that SJA owns the freehold and there are no covenants in place. We definitely own it.”

He added: “There are an awful lot of contents within the building.

“It will be cleared in due course when it closes at the end of the month.

“We would be keen to hear from anybody – a museum or other organisation – who feels the historical items should be returned.”

Anyone interested can contact Philip Walker via philip.walker@sja.org.uk

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