A historic centre of worship with a unique history may have a bright new future ahead of it.

The Lady Brooke Memorial Hall in Brookeborough is a unique building in the village.

The hall is 130 years old, and had some unique features – including a very striking clock tower that dominates the centre of the village.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter about the history of the hall, Rev. Johnny McLoughlin, rector of Aghavea Parish Church and Trustee of Lady Brooke Memorial Hall, said: “Up until the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in March, 2020, the hall was in active use by the community of Church of Ireland Parish of Aghavea, and used regularly for evening services of worship.

“People came from the village, who might not have been parishioners, for the evening service, praise service or the healing service.”

The hall is owned by the parish, having been gifted by the Brooke family following the death of Lady Brooke, and was dedicated in her memory.

Sir Arthur Brinkley Brooke (1797-1854) was known as Sir Arthur the Good for all the relief he provided to the distressed in the area during the famine. He married Queen Victoria's maid of honour, Henrietta Anson. Henrietta was also noted for the evangelical and charitable work she carried out with her husband.

When she died in 1886, her son, Sir Victor Brooke, built the Lady Brooke Memorial Hall in her honour on the site of the old Brookeborough school house.

In addition, Alan Brooke, Lord and 3rd Viscount Brookeborough, serves as Trustee of Lady Brooke Memorial Hall – a nod to his family’s role in establishing the hall for the community in Brookeborough.

It is hoped that some works can be completed on the hall as it currently does not have a bathroom, and needs a kitchen upgrade before it can have its full potential realised.

As seen by the pictures accompanying this article, the hall is in need of some repair works.

However, there is a determination to restore it back to full working order.

Looking to the future of the hall, Rev. Johnny said: “I have visions for the building and want to make it a community hub so that everyone can use it. I would really want it to host events.”

It is hoped that a new chapter will write itself soon for this historic hall.