Shiplake Mem Hall

Frequently Asked Questions:

Local Suppliers return to top

We can't make any recommendations as such but we can provide a list of local caterers (or caterers who will cover the area) and other suppliers. Please e-mail for more details.

Use of BBQs and fire pits in the Hall Garden return to top

A BBQ or fire-pit may be set up in the Hall Garden subject to the following:

  • You notify us in advance of your intention to use a BBQ/fire-pit and we agree it (by inclusion in the agreed Booking Schedule).
  • You keep it on the concrete and away from any plants that might get damaged by the heat
  • You place it so that smoke doesn't enter the hall (as there's a risk the fire alarm may be triggered), and of course,
  • You take all other appropriate safety measures to ensure no damage to any part of the hall or gardens and no injury to any persons attending.

Sale of Alcohol return to top

Any event proposing the sale of alcohol must be covered by a Temporary Event Licence. It makes no difference if the hirer is using someone who has a personal licence - a premises licence is still required. Hirers wishing to sell alcohol must advise us of this and must apply to South Oxfordshire District Council for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) prior to the event.

Use of fireworks return to top

Because of the sensitivity of our fire alarm system no fireworks of any sort (even indoor fireworks) can be used in the hall itself. We have no objection to fireworks being let off in the rear car-park or the field, subject to normal safety precautions being taken, provided that:

  • You notify us in advance of your intention to set off fireworks and we agree it (by inclusion in the agreed Booking Schedule),
  • For the consideration of our neighbours there are no loud fireworks after 10.00pm weekdays, 11.00pm weekends,
  • You return the next morning to check and clear the field of any debris
  • You take all other appropriate safety measures to ensure no damage to any part of the hall, car park, field, garden or parked vehicles and no injury to any persons attending.

Hirer and visitor conduct during celebratory and concert events return to top

Please note the following requirements for hirers and their guests to follow during celebratory and concert events.

The hall is in a residential area and we have to be careful to minimise any disruption to neighbours and to the resident of the flat attached to the Hall. Although we don't currently set any noise limits for music within the hall we do require that entertainment finishes by 11.30pm (12.30pm on Friday / Saturday) and all guests are away from the site by 12.00pm (1.00am) latest. This also means that there should be no congregating of people to the front of the building (facing the houses on Orchard Close) or to the rear of the building where the flat is located.

We have a small garden to the west of the Hall which can be used as an overspill area - and the car park and field beyond are also available to those seeking a respite from the music! However in poor weather there is a risk of soiling of the hall floor so you should allow plenty of time for cleaning (a recent event required the main floor to be washed three times and re-polished before it was returned to its previous condition). Also, the hall garden is used by the local Village Nursery so should be left in a fit state for re-use - no litter, especially glass, tins, cigarette ends.

The risk of accidental damage in a large event, especially if alcohol is consumed, is high so in addition to our requiring a damage deposit we may also require evidence of the Hirer holding adequate insurance for the event (a Google search for 'Event Insurance' will identify a number of potential providers).

Animals in the Hall or Hall Garden return to top

Our Conditions of Hire state "The Hirer shall ensure that no animals (including birds) except guide dogs are brought into the premises, other than for a special event agreed to by the SMH. No animals whatsoever are to enter the kitchen at any time."

The only exceptions we allow are for professional entertainers specialising in menagerie displays, who can reasonably be expected to have adequate control and provide adequate floor protection.

The above applies equally to the Hall and the Hall Garden.

Main Hall capacity return to top

  • Max seated capacity formal meal* - 100
  • Max seated capacity buffet meal - 120
  • Max seated capacity theatre style - 180 (note hall has only 130 seats)
  • Max capacity of hall (no seats) - 220

* The reason for differentiating between buffets and other meals is that for buffet style you can use the tables singly, with up to 8 people per table but if you have any more formal arrangement you are likely to need space for condiments, bread, serving dishes etc which really requires the tables to be doubled. We can get 10 double tables in reasonably comfortably at 10 persons per table. It is possible to get a couple more tables in place but we're then at risk of leaving too little space for emergency evacuation.

Bouncy Castles return to top

Bouncy castles, provided that they are erected and operated under full adult supervision are permitted both in the hall garden and in the main hall itself. The height at the centre of the main hall is 4.7m and it's the same at both ends of the hall! (The ceiling height on the stage is 3.4m.)

Decorating the hall return to top

We have cleats all around the walls in the main hall about 2.5m up for tying off high level decorations such as bunting and balloons. Please would you use blutack or low adhesive tape for anything you attach to walls, doors or windows. (Ordinary sellotape leaves a residue on glass and can pull the varnish off the wood!)

Strictly no use of pins, screws or staples please - otherwise a charge of £20 may apply!

Use of ladders in the hall return to top

There are currently three ladders at the base of the tower. Two are locked up and are not for use of hirers. The third is a stepladder which is tall enough to allow hirers to reach the cleats all around the hall for hanging decorations. This may be used by hirers provided they follow the instructions on its use that are attached to the ladder. Hirers must accept responsibility for following these instructions and using the ladder safely.

If any other ladders are brought on site it is the sole responsibility of the hirer to ensure these are stored and used correctly.

Use of candles and smoke generators return to top

The Conditions of Hire state: "The Hirer shall not use any smoke generators, unless with the specific permission of the SMH, to avoid false triggering of the fire alarm system". We shall not normally give permission. The reasons for this are:

  • if the fire alarms are triggered a loud alarm sounds, which will cause disturbance to neighbours and the flat tenant as well as to hall occupants. It may take some time for us to be able to respond and turn off the alarm.
  • Once the alarm is triggered it will time some time (hours/days) for the smoke levels at ceiling height to clear so that the alarm can be safely reset. In the meantime the fire detectors in the hall have to remain inoperative.
  • Any costs we incur in attending and dealing with a false alarm caused by smoke generation in the hall may be charged to the hirer.

In the past we have given special permission if the smoke machine is water-based (rather than oil-based) However we have had an instance of the fire alarm being triggered in the case of a water-based generator so we cannot apply a blanket exception.

Conducting wedding ceremonies at the hall return to top

We don't believe any licence is required for holding a wedding celebration itself at the hall - only the signing of the register can't be done at the Hall. We have had a marriage ceremony celebrated at the hall before where the couple and witnesses paid a quick trip to the Henley registry office and then returned to the hall for the ceremony. If you have a Celebrant in mind to conduct the ceremony they'll be able to give you more detailed advice.

Sound System return to top

The sound system is a mono pa system, with a microphone input (we provide one microphone plus stand) and a 3.5mm jack input (for i-pad etc) pre-provided.

Additional sound services

Additional sound services may be offered, using the facilities of the local Amdram group SHADDO. Such services include:

  • Use of a radio mic (for public meetings - not normally for celebration events because of risk of damage). This is dependent on SHADDO equipment and SHADDO set-up/clear away.
  • Provision of additional connections into the hall amplifier. This is dependent on SHADDO equipment and SHADDO set-up/clear away.
  • Provision of a microphone and extension cable at the back of the hall (for weddings that have the high table at the tower end.)

Note: The SHADDO speakers at the front of the hall are NOT available for hirer use.

If you have any special requirements contact us via in the first instance.

Noise Limiters return to top

At the present time we don't have any Noise Limiting devices installed and we rely on our hirers and their DJs and bands to keep the volumes at levels commensurate with a hall located in a residential area. Please keep the volume down after 11.00pm and please stop the music altogether by 12.30am, or 1/2 hour before your end time, whichever is earlier.

Theatre Lighting return to top

Use can be made of some of the SHADDO lighting set-up to provide more atmospheric lighting for stage-based performances. This includes general lighting of the stage, spotlights on the front centre of the stage and coloured lights on the stage itself. A hirer who is competent in stage lighting may re-focus and re-gel the coloured lights (parcans) but must not make any changes to any of the other lights. A simple control panel is installed in the back corner of the stage to allow the hirer (or stage user) to control the lighting.

Kitchen Equipment return to top

Dishwasher We have a Classeq Duo 750 dishwasher. It is fully plumbed in and doesn't require the addition of tablets or cleaning fluid. It takes about 25 mins to get up to temperature after being switched on, thereafter the cleaning cycle is 3 mins. At the end of use it requires to be drained - this takes a further 20 minutes before it can be switched off.

Warming Cupboard This is thermostat controlled and heats up to a maximum temperature of just under 1000C.

Water Boiler This is fully plumbed in. It takes about 25 minutes to get the water up to a temperature of 960C.

Clear & Clean service return to top

Our normal requirement is that the you must leave the hall in as clean and tidy state as you found it. Our 'Clear and Clean' service, which is a part of our Celebration Packages, means that our cleaners will do the final clearing, including putting away any tables and chairs left out in the hall.

Before your booked time expires you still need to clear away and clean all kitchen utensils, crockery & cutlery (including hall crockery and cutlery unless you've requested our washing-up service). You also need to take away your decorations and any other items you’ve brought.

(If it's late, rather than make a noise putting cans and bottles in the skip, they can be left tidily in the kitchen in boxes or bags and we'll put them in the skip when we clean up.)