The Co-op Hall Arnold
By 1904. the two existing Co-op shops in Arnold had grown too small to cope with the demands of the Arnold people. The Lenton and Nottingham Co operative Society then decided to build a grand new shop in Arnold, to be situated on the junction of Nottingham Road, High Street and Front Street.
As was the standard in those days the store was built on two floors. The lower floor housed three separated but interconnected shops. These had departments for footwear, haberdashery, groceries and butchery. The upper floor of such buildings was usually the living quarters of the manager but not so in this case. The upper floor was constructed as a large hall that was accessed from a staircase on the side of the building.
To the rear of the building were stables and a coach house for the delivery vehicles and horses used by the Co-op. The hall was so arranged, with its separated access, that it could be used by the public during or after shop trading hours. It soon therefore, became the main meeting and social point in Arnoldfor gatherings both large and small.
During both World Wars, the hall was in regular use for fund raising events for the local men away in the armed forces. Religious meetings, group activities, sales of work and concerts were all the order of the day. Dances were a popular feature with many local bands well in attendance. During World War Two, the Jimmy Lancaster Band was a frequent attraction, always playing to a packed hall.
With the building of the Drill Hall and later the Empress Ballroom and St Albans Picturedrome, the need for the hall declined. The attraction of Nottingham's nightlife, and the now improved transport services, finally closed the hall. The outside staircase was demolished to widen the entrance to St Albans Road. The stables and coach house were also demolished and a car park for the customers built on the site. When in the 1960s the Co-op needed a new and more modern store they left the old building intact and moved to a newly built store on the site of the old Front Street Baptist Church at the end of Worrall Avenue.The empty store was then converted to a furniture store in which form it remained for a number of years. More recently, it was taken over by the J D Wetherspoon group who carried out an expensive conversion to form a new pub and restaurant. The old upper Hall was converted to living quarters for the manager. The name J D Wetherspoon chose for the building was The Ernehale - after the original name of the town of Arnold. The first new public house in the centre of Arnold for many years.
All articles © Bob Massey