To "larrup" in the dictionary is defined as "to thrash or whip". But when a group of thirteen men got together in 1921 and called themselves "The Larruperz", they had something different in mind. The meaning they associated with the word meant having a good time, enjoying a drink or two. They made music together and formed a dance orchestra and remained friends all their lives.
It would be wrong to dismiss The Larruperz as a group just bent on enjoying themselves, since they were soon using their considerable energies and enthusiasm to improve the facilities of the community of Ross. They set out to help those less fortunate than themselves. Their efforts provided support for Ross Carnival, provided boots to poor children, gave parties for the Poor Law Institution inmates, and were largely responsible for the provision of a motor ambulance for the town.
They decided to raise £5000 for a new public hall. Many local organisations considered this to be impractical, but The Larruperz were undeterred and had soon raised £1400. They purchased a site in Edde Cross Street for £265, and by 1936 ambitious plans for "The Larruperz Public Hall Scheme" had been prepared. They included facilities for 550 seats, large Stage, kitchen, toilets, meeting rooms, cloakroom and a car park. It was thought that the facilities could be suitable for Hunt Balls, Operatic Performances, Dances, Conferences, Public Meetings, classes etc.
By September of 1936, working hard in their spare time, the site had been cleared and the project was now officially the "Larruperz Coronation Hall Scheme."
The intervention of the second world war, and the changing circumstances of the post war period prevented much more development of the Larruperz Hall, and in 1945 the matter of the need for the Hall was raised with Ross Urban District Council. The Council's decision was that the cost of the scheme was too much, and the whole thing was left in abeyance. In 1950 the Town Hall Committee (The Larruperz), offered the land to the Council subject to certain conditions. These being among others, what could be done with the land, and how the efforts of The Larruperz could be commemorated in perpetuity.
Although planning permission for the Hall had been approved, very little happened for a number of years. Building costs were escalating, and new plans were drawn up in 1962, giving a cost of £30000. However in 1985, the former Grammar School, was replaced by a new school (John Kyrle), and the Council saw the possibility of housing a Community Centre in the old school. The old school was purchased from the County Council, and the Ross District Community Association was formed to manage the Centre. Since the aims of both The Larruperz and the new Association were almost identical, The Larruperz transferred all their assets to the Community Association. The cost of converting the old school to a community centre was in the region of £450,000, and the purchase of the building from the County Council £138,000. In 1989, the land in Edde Cross Street was sold for £300,000, and this was put towards the conversion costs. The Centre as it is now, opened in 1990.
The Larruperz Centre is leased to the Ross District Community Association for a small annual rent on a 99 year agreement. However the Association is responsible for the maintenance, repair, refurbishment and running costs of the building. This is a considerable sum to raise each year, and is achieved by income from lettings, and fundraising events. Membership of £5 per year makes a relatively small contribution, and new members are always welcome.
As a registered Charity, the Association and the Centre is the responsibility of a Board of Trustees. The Association employs a staff of five, with a Centre Manager and Caretaker working full time, and four other staff working part time. The Centre reception is manned most days by volunteers, who also help out with other duties at busier times. The Social Club manage the Bar and its facilities, and promote and organise social evenings and other events to raise money for the Centre.
The Larruperz Centre is a much needed facility in Ross, and many people, not least the staff and volunteers, work hard to make sure it remains open. If you think you could be one of these people please contact us.
Registered Charity No. 1108796
Company Limited by Guarantee No. 05375065
Here is a brief history of the origin of the Larruperz, and how the Larruperz Centre has become what it is today. If you would like more information, a small book detailing the history is available and can be purchased from reception.