History

In the early 1860s the area where The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre now stands was mainly fields but the completion of the Hayling Branch Line, to Langstone in 1865 and to Hayling in 1867, paved the way for the development of the East End of Havant.

In 1868 the Havant Town Hall Company Limited was formed under the chairmanship of the Lord of the Manor, William Henry Stone MP, who donated £500 towards the cost of the new Town Hall. The plans were drawn up by Richard Drew, William Stone’s architect for Leigh Park House. Inside the 85 X 45 foot building was a hall 55 X 22 feet with a big gallery, seating for 300 and a large moveable stage. Solo artists from London performed at the grand opening concert on 28 January 1870. Thereafter, the hall was used for public meetings, lectures, flower and pet shows, auctions, wedding receptions and furniture sales etc. The Volunteers’ armoury was also housed in the building.  When Havant and Waterloo Urban District Council was formed in 1932 the Town Hall was used as its administrative headquarters.  Interestingly, then as now, the site was considered to be rather far from the town centre but it was chosen because of the affordable cost of the land.

Havant Museum, now part of “The Spring”, was built in 1874 as a private house known as Lymbourne and later as Moorlands. It had four different owners before becoming home to the WRNS from 1942 until the end of WW2.  In 1946 the house was sold to Havant and Waterloo Urban District Council, who owned the neighbouring Town Hall. The gap between the buildings was filled in at a later stage to make one complex.

On 31st October 1946 Moorlands was sold to Havant Urban District Council by Leslie Collins. In 1977 the new Civic Offices opened in Civic Centre Road. The old Town Hall building and the area linking it with the former house were converted into a new Arts Centre, which opened on 24 June 1978.  Havant Museum opened in October 1979 in what had once been Miss Charge’s home.

Due to funding difficulties the Arts Centre and Museum merged to become The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre under the management of the Havant Arts Centre Board, with effect from 1 April 2009.  External funding and the plan to use more volunteers made it possible for the Museum to undergo major refurbishment, with the help of the Hampshire Museums Service, and the building was formally reopened in October 2009.