Builders made the discovery while knocking through an old chimney behind the stage of the hall owned by Stroud Town Council.
The construction work is to build a new £102,000 hall extension which will be used as a backstage green room and equipment store.
The find is a collection of American Christian Science Monitor newspapers from September 1937. It was wrapped up in black netting fabric that looks like a piece of women’s clothing.
Mystery surrounds the find which dates back to when Lansdown Hall was used as a Temperance Hall by the Christian Scientists.
The chimney where the papers were jammed would have been in the minister’s office.
Architect Nick Hurst, of Apple Design, who is working on the extension, says the mystery find may have a very practical explanation.
“The probable practical explanation is that someone had made a wad to block the chimney flue, and stop the down-draught,” he said. “A more deliberate concealment would be speculation. But it is an intriguing find.”
Lansdown Hall opened in 1879 as a Temperance hall, paid for by “the bequest of a gentleman anxious to promote the cause of temperance”.
It went through several changes of use including a public meeting hall, a library, offices for political parties including the Liberals and the Conservatives and finally a Labour Exchange before being bought by the Christian Scientists in 1934.
By 1982 the congregation was not big enough to maintain it and the hall was sold again being first used for museum exhibitions and then in 2000 as an arts centre.
The Town Council bought Lansdown Hall in 2010 to save it from closure. It is run by a charitable trust and provides a community space for the town. A programme of major repairs and refurbishment is ongoing.
The new extension will free up space in the hall, and incorporate much needed extra toilet facilities.
The groundworks to the new extension are grant aided by a Biffa Award. Other parts of the Biffa Award have already paid for the inner lobby to the Gallery and the air-to-water heat exchangers, both installed in the Autumn. The Hall has also received much appreciated funding from the Garfield Weston Fund contributing towards the new extension.
This much-loved community building will soon be reaping the benefits of a second grant from the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, funded with landfill tax contributions donated by Cory Environmental. This will contribute to essential exterior repairs to the stonework, windows, gutters and downpipes. With the generous help of all three grant funders, the Town Council aims to make the building a better environment for all who use it, as well more energy efficient.