Mention should also be made of the men who often gathered in the smaller front room of the old hall for a friendly game of cards. At one time it was an organized group but of later years it seemed to be just a few men spending an hour or so playing cards while talking over the happenings of the day.
Down through the years the local citizens kept the hall in good repair. Periodically a special effort was put forth to update the facilities or to give it a new coat of paint. Extensive remodelling was done in 1971. Panelling was installed, eliminating the windows in the east wall, and a more modern kitchen and washrooms were built.
In the same year, a new bylaw concerning Morpeth Hall was passed and is as follows:
BYLAW NO. 71-38 OF THE CORPORATION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF HOWARD.
Being a bylaw to establish a Community Centre in accordance with the Community Centres Act RSO 1960 as amended;
WHEREAS Morpeth Hall established under a Declaration of Trust dated April 9th, 1912, is a public hall and dedicated as a Community Centre in accordance with the said Declaration of Trust;
AND WHEREAS the Council of the Township of Howard deems it advisable to establish Morpeth Hall as a Community Centre under the Community Centres Act, for purposes of the Act;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Council of the Township of Howard enacts as follows:
1. That Morpeth Hall be established as a Community Centre under the Community Centres Act RSO 1960 as amended.
2. That Morpeth Hall will be under the management and control of a Board of five trustees of which three shall be appointed annually by Council and two shall be members of Council.
3. That the appointed trustees shall have those powers conferred by the Community Centres Act.
4. That the Board of Trustees for 1971 shall be as follows:
1. Mr. Archie McDiarmid, Member.
2. Mrs. Jessie Chris, Member.
3. Mr. Murray Carnie, Member.
4. Mr. Otis Mervin, Councillor.
5. Mr. Norman Carnie, Councillor.
5. This bylaw comes into full force and effect on the final passing thereof.
FINALLY passed this 5th day of July, 1971.
Signed “John Parney” Reeve.
Signed “Kenneth D. N. Boal” Clerk.
It was however, on September 24th, 1983, when new glass front doors for the hall were being installed, that misfortune struck. Just past midnight, two passersby noticed flames to the right of the new doors and sounded an alarm for the Ridgetown Fire Department. They were on the scene very quickly, but upon their arrival found the hall was spewing out smoke and flames from all sides. The front section was badly charred and the rest was heavily damaged with smoke and water. A week later, backhoes were on the lot pushing down the remains and the cleanup began.
A committee was almost immediately formed to raise funds for the replacement of the hall with the hopes of aid from government grants.