Kloof Town Hall by Adrian M. Rowe

Lot P of Richmond farm was inherited by Thomas Samuel Poer Field after the death of his parents, Mr & Mrs John Coote Field I on 1 February 1896 and 27 September 1901 respectfully. It was 561.46 acres in extent, and he called his inheritance Glenholm. It incorporated most of the present-day central areas of Kloof, incuding the Country Club, SPCA, the Railway Station and St Agnes’ Church.

In 1910, Tom Field donated approximately half an acre of land, next to the (Old) Main Road, to the public of Krantzkloof, for the purpose of erecting the Krantzkloof Public Hall. The Trustees of this gift were Messrs. Thomas V. Daugherty, John Thompson and Edmund Purnell.

In the early 1920’s, Krantzkloof Tennis Club had been formed, and were looking for land on which to build their own tennis courts. As no steps had been taken to build the Hall, the members approached Tom Field and the Trustees, and obtained permission to build courts on the land donated for the Hall.

Shortly thereafter, the residents of Krantzkloof were ready to build the Hall, and the Krantzkloof Hall Committee, consisting of the Rev. Stead (later Canon Stead), Mr Thomas Tod (Chairman), Mr Hulston (Treasurer), Mr Karl Gundlefinger, and Mr Clarkson ( later Senator Clarkson), was formed.

Mr Tom Field was approached with a view to selling a piece of land to the Committee, alongside the tennis courts. This he agreed to, however there was a complication, as, on the land there was a shack, in which was situated the sweet shop run by the Earps. The Earps, however, agreed to move, and their shop was relocated to a position close to where the Standard Bank is now situated. A second Trust, the Krantzkloof Hall Trust, was formed and the Trustees were Messrs. Tod, Hulston and Purnell. One of the conditions, stipulated in the Trust Deeds, was that the Hall property could be taken over by a Town Board, if a Township were ever proclaimed.

It was decided to raise the funds, for the building, by means of Debentures and public subscription, on the basis that the building was erected as a memorial to those who fell in “The Great War” (World War I), and still today many people refer to it as the Memorial Hall. As Tom Field would not accept cash for the land, he was given £50 worth of Debenture stock in full settlement. Most families, resident in Krantzkloof, bought at least one of these Debentures, at a cost of £5 each.

The foundation stone was laid by Mrs Thomas Tod on 26 April 1924. Mr W. (Bill) Bailey was the builder, and Mr Lacey, a retired chartered accountant, appointed himself as the foreman carpenter! Incorporated within the foyer at the entrance to the main hall were two pillars ( removed at the time of the re-furbishment), which it is thought were built to signify a Freemason Lodge. In 1947, Bill Bailey was a founder member of the newly formed Krantzkloof Lodge, which has been meeting at the Hall ever since.

On 3 July 1922, Krantzkloof was renamed Kloof Station-on-rail, and then on 4 February 1924, the Post Office was opened, on the site where it was recently demolished, to make way for the parking area of the re-furbished Kloof Mall, and the name was changed to Kloof.

After the hall was completed, the young people of Kloof decided that it was up to them to help pay for it, and so the Kloof Entertainment Committee was formed. It became very popular, and concerts and dances were held. A group of dancing girls, who included Dorothy Vernon ( later Mrs Lawrence Clarkson) and Dulcie Hulston, calling themselves the Wyebank Woppers were amongst the entertainers, who included the very popular Vos’ Orchestra from Durban. After a few years the Hall was paid for.

During 1942, Kloof changed from a Health Committee to a Town Board, and in terms of the condition decreed by Tom Field, the Hall was transferred to the Township of Kloof on 28 May 1943. The transfer was confirmed by an Order of the Court.

Since its completion the Hall has been used by many sports and social clubs for their meetings. One of these was the badminton club, which called itself Kloof Country Club. When Kloof & District Golf Club wished to form themselves into a country club in 1950, they managed to prevail upon the members of the badminton club to part with their name.

September 1996