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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:47 pm 
Spider Lady
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Location: Staffordshire
Burnley Advertiser

Saturday 22 December 1877

Opening Of The Briercliffe Reading and Recreation Rooms, Haggate.

On Saturday last these rooms were publicly opened by Councillor Altham. A procession, headed by the Haggate Brass Band, under the leadership of Mr John Banks, marched from the Old Chapel to the Recreation Rooms, the band playing "Hail smiling morn." The gentlemen who took part in the procession were Councillor Altham, Councillor Nutter, The Rev. Isaac Lloyd, pastor of Hill Lane Chapel, Mr John Smith, of Hill; Mr Corrin, schoolmaster of the Briercliffe National School; secretary; Mr Proctor of Burnley-lane, the directors, Messrs John Burrows, Thomas Taylor, Benjamin Taylor, John Halstead, Halstead Halstead, Edmund Atkinson, Thomas Bannister, and John Simpson; also, a number of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. Mr T. T. Smith, of Hill End, the chairman of the directors and treasurer, was unavoidably absent through a pressing engagement. On the arrival of the procession at the rooms, the gentlemen who had taken part in it mounted the steps at the front of the building. After silence had been obtained.
Councillor Nutter then stepped forward and said: It affords me very great pleasure to see such a noble building as this in Haggate. I do not know what you call it - whether you call it a town hall or reading rooms, or what, but it is worthy of the name of a town hall. I hope that you will make the best use of it. I now call upon Mr Smith to deliver the key to Mr Councillor Altham to open the building.
Mr Smith (addressing Councillor Altham) said: I have very great pleasure, on behalf of the directors of this building, in handing to you the key by which the members are to gain access to it, and which also you are to use to-day in commemoration of the completion of this building. I may also say that we are very much indebted to you as a community and district for the great earnestness you have displayed in assisting to bring this building to completion -(hear, hear)- and I hope, as the name implies, that in it members will find recreation and instruction.
Councillor Altham, on receiving the key from Mr Smith said: I have very great pleasure in receiving the key. I may add that it affords me very great pleasure in so short a time to be able to be at the opening of these Reading and Recreation Rooms. I am sure that the building itself is an ornament to a village and township like this. I know that when we were growing up as boys and young men we found the great necessity of a place similar to this, where we could congregate together without being brought into contact with temptation, and things which were calculated to draw us aside from the paths of virtue and industry, and everything that is good. And I am sure I must congratulate our young men, who are no being so highly favoured, with the great enthusiasm displayed by the friends around them, who have their welfare at heart, and who have been determined by every exertion in their power to bring a noble structure like this to completion in so short a time; and I may say that I feel confident myself that the directors who have the management of this building, and the conduct of this place, will - and I have been told by the secretary that they will - take every care that whoever comes here will receive benefit and not harm. Those parents who may have some misgiving in regard to the morality of the young people who become members, may be informed that no swearing will be allowed in the place, nor any bad conduct whatever. (Hear, hear) I am sure you will thank the directors for the exertions and self-denying labours they have put forth, and I may say it is one of the proudest days in my life that I have helped in some degree to bring this work to a successful termination by contributing to such a building for such a purpose. I have long felt that the district itself needed it. This day is a day of rejoicing to most of us. It brings with it associations, and kindred memories of bygone days. This ceremony is just merely for the purpose of letting everybody feel the importance of a day on which a noble structure like this is opened for public purposes in a village like Haggate. (Hear, hear) I hope young people will come forward and enroll themselves as members. Think of benefitting those about you, and that in connecting yourselves with an institution like this you are doing something for succeeding generations. I am sure I have great pleasure now in declaring this building open.
Councillor Altham then unlocked the door and led the way into the building, followed by a large number of persons. Mr Corrin, schoolmaster, called for three cheers, which were heartily given. The circumstances which have led to the erection of the "Town Hall" of Haggate (as it has been rather facetiously termed) are, we feel certain, rather prevalent in all country places. The want had long been felt of a place wherein the male portion of the community could meet any evening, have the use of well-lighted and comfortable rooms in which the games of billiards, chess, &c., could be enjoyed; where newspapers, periodicals, and magazines could be perused without the temptation of the liquor traffic. Full particulars of the origination and progress of the movement will be found in the admirable report of the secretary which is given below.
The building, which is in the Gothic style, two storeys high, stands in the centre of the village, on ground purchased from the trustees of the Briercliffe National School, and has a frontage of 41 feet. An open space 16 feet wide in front of the building is enclosed by a handsome iron pallisading. On the ground floor are two lofty, well-lighted rooms; that on the right which is 24 feet by 14 feet 9 inches, will be used as a reading room; that on the left, 15 feet by 14 feet 9 inches, is at present utilised as a smoke-room, but as soon as funds can be raised it is contemplated to start a library , which will be open to members and the public of the neighbourhood. On the ground floor is also a lavatory; on the first floor are the billiard and chess rooms, the former 24ft. by 20ft. 6in., the latter 15ft. by 14ft. 9in. The premises are to be furnished by subscriptions, and will cost about £100, towards which over £80 has already been raised. As in the lower apartments those on the first floor are lofty and well-lighted, having abundance of ventilation; they are also wainscotted. The artificial light used is made on the premises by the improved "Alpha" gasmaking apparatus, and has been supplied by Mr Muller, of Birmingham. A space has been left in the front of the building for a clock, which will be put in as soon as sufficient funds are collected. Towards this, about £10 has already been received. It is intended ultimately to provide members with refreshments of a temperance character at very reasonable prices. The architect is Mr Henry Smith, son of Councillor Smith, contractor. The contractors are:- Mason work, Messrs. Edmondson and Lever, Haggate; plastering, Messrs. Jackson Bros., Haggate; joiner work, Messrs. Taylor and Hanson, Burnley-lane; iron work, Mr. Lawrence Atkinson, Burnley-lane; painting and plumbing, Mr. John Hargreaves, Nelson; slating, Mr. Nutter, of Nelson.
The rooms will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., except on Saturdays, when they will be open till 11 p.m. On Sundays, the lower reading room and library will be open only to members above 16 years of age. Any person, whatever may be his religious views, political opinions, or social position, may become a member by agreeing to observe the rules, and a payment of 2s. quarterly, or a yearly subscription of 6s. The rules are those usually in force in similar institutions, and stipulate that no member shall gamble, swear, or use any immoral language in the rooms, and any person found in an intoxicated condition will be at once removed from the premises.
The company, which has been duly registered according to Act of Parliament, has a share capital of £700 in one pound shares, which are very nearly all paid up. The shares have been taken up very liberally by, and *audsome contributions received from, the Mayor of Burnley, Alderman Robinson, Reedley Bank; Councillor ALtham, Byerden House; Mr Edward Ecroyd, of Edge-end; Mr T. T. Smith, of Hill End; Mr Thomas Burrows, Gannow Mill, and others.
During the afternoon a first-class tea was provided in the Old Chapel, Haggate, to which over 350 persons did ample justice. The following are the names of the ladies who presided at the tables:- Mrs and the Misses Smith of Hill End, Mrs Edward Ecroyd, Edge End; Mrs Robertshaw, Burwains; Mrs and Miss Hoole, the Vicarage, Briercliffe; also Misses Burrows, Banks, Barker, Taylor, Thornton, and Watkin. The after meeting and entertainment which was given in the National School, was presided over by Councillor Altham. About 400 persons were present. On the platform with the Chairman were Councillor Nutter, Mr T. T. Smith, Mr John Smith, the Rev Isaac Lloyd, Mr Corrin, Mr Alexander Brodie, Mr Thomas Proctor, Mr Joseph Thornton, Mr Dugdale, Mr John West and others.
The Chairman first called upon Mr Corrin, the secretary, to read his report, which was as follows:-
On the 1st October, 1876, a meeting was held in the chapel at Haggate, and a resolution was passed, that it was desirable to have a place in which men and youths of the district could meet to read, and pass their evenings pleasantly. A committee was formed, who immediately took steps to carry out this resolution. In order to make a beginning , the trustees of the chapel placed two rooms at our disposal. The committee ordered a number of newspapers, magazines, chess, and draft boards to be provided. About 100 persons became members, and the committee was encouraged to take into consideration the purchase of a plot of land and the erection of suitable buildings. How to raise the money was the next question; it did not take long to decide that. When people are in earnest the means are generally forthcoming some how. Mr Smith suggested the formation of a Limited Liability Company, as the best way of raining the money. He, together with out worthy chairman, set the example by promising to take a good number of hsares, and in inducing several of their friends to do the same. The proper means were at once taken, a board of directors chosen, and in a short time the Co., was formed, and registered by Act of Parliament. We next sent out applications for shares, and a goodly number were soon taken up.
"As you are well aware, the corner-stone was laid in March last, and we have to-day opened the new rooms. As an instance of the interest which is taken in the Reading rooms, it is only necessary to state that almost all the provisions for the last tea-party, and for this, have either been given in money or bread, &c., by the mothers and sisters and wives of men who will use the rooms. I hope they may always be able to give in a good cause. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." I know that it has been a blessed thing for me to have the money ready as the bills came in, and if the blessing of these kind women is to be greater than mine, I can assure them, I shall be most happy to procure them another, as soon as they are ready. "The first tea-party cleared £45, and if this one does as well it will be a great encouragement to us to continue the operations.
"As regards the funds of the Company I have not prepared any additional statement to the balance sheet lately issued, but up to the present time about £690 have been received, and the present sum paid, so that we are about square.
"And now as to our future prospects. I am not much of a financier, so I can't show you that it will certainly be a profitable undertaking for the shareholders; I hope it will. We should all like it to pay 4 or 5, or 6 or 8 per cent. But you must be content to wait. It is well understood that our chief object is not gain. If we can make it clear expenses most of us will be satisfied. I think it will do that - (especially with such profitable tea-parties.) The building will require the whole of our £700 capital. We have done several things, which are not reckoned in the £700. For instance, we are going to have the front pointed with mastic, as the rain gets in very much in rough weather. Then our gas apparatus will cost a considerable sum. We mean to have a library and a billiard table, which will cost another good sum; but these should also be a source of income, as I am informed that all billiard tables pay; this with concerts occasionally, and the subscriptions of members are to be our chief means of raising money."
After reading the report, the Secretary made a few remarks, in which he complimented Mr Joshua Rawlinson, of Burnley, for the great services he had so willingly rendered in starting the Briercliffe Reading and Recreation Rooms Co., (Limited.)
The Chairman, at the conclusion of the Secretary's remarks, eulogised that gentleman for the way in which he had laboured on behalf of the Company, and expressed the satisfaction it gave him (the Chairman) to see such good and commodious rooms where they might come on an evening and spend an hour in harmless amusement, or in benefiting the mind. The object of the shareholders was not to gain money by starting the enterprise, but to benefit and increase the knowledge of present and future generations. He made a forcible appeal for every eligible person to become a member. The Chairman also made the handsome proposition that if the members would appoint two suitable persons he would along with them select and give £10 worth of books to start the library. (Applause) He also wished everyone to set their shoulders to the wheel and start the library immediately, grace the building with their presence, and raise its finances. (Applause.) The Chairman, during the evening, called on the following gentlemen to address the assembly.
Mr Brodie; in addressing the meeting on the words "and then," related several anecdotes which elicited much laughter. He wished to impress on the directors the advisability of considering questions which would be for the good of the whole community.
Mr Councillor Nutter said: I consider Mr Altham a most remarkable young man, one who has come boldly to the front and gained a position. I consider him to be a good example to those who are in affluent circumstances. Mr Altham is notably a man of peace, and if a war should break out between this country and China, I think he is a most proper man to settle it. (Laughter.) Mr Nutter said, as he was not much of a speaker, he would sing them a song on a topic which had been very much before them lately, viz., Spiritualism. For the song he was vociferously encored.
Mr T. Proctor, said he had been taken rather by surprise, and felt slightly unprepared to make a speech, as he understood he was only to be called upon to move a resolution. He expressed the satisfaction it gave him to see a building like the "Reading Room" raised amongst them. He felt sure the "Reading Room" would benefit the family circles, and appealed to the ladies to take an interest in the good cause. He also appealed to the members to make individual effort to support the "Reading Room," being assured that they would receive more benefit there tan in the public house.
Mr Dugdale moved a resolution to the ladies and gentlemen who had taken such an interest in the proceedings that day, and also to those who had been instrumental in raising the building.
Mr J. Smith seconded the resolution. Mr T. T. Smith moved "that the best thanks of this meeting be given to out able and worthy chairman," which was seconded by the Rev. Isaac Lloyd.
Mr Councillor Altham in acknowledging the vote of thanks said he was extremely obliged for their expression of good will, and remarked that he thought Mr T. T. Smith should have been in the chair on this occasion instead of himself, only Mr Smith was of rather a retiring disposition, and did not like to come so much to the front, and felt perfectly satisfied to work and know that everything was going on well. The Chairman also mentioned that Mr Rylands, M.P., had been asked to be present that day, and a reply had been received stating the great pleasure it would have afforded him to have been present, only a previous engagement at Warrington had prevented him. During the evening piano duetts were given by the Misses Smith, selectious on the concertina by Mr Wm. Greenwood, songs by Messrs W Walton, W. Hartley, and W. Slater, and Miss Edwards; piano selections by Mr Lonsdale, who also acted as accompanist, all of whom acquitted themselves admirably.
The proceedings were closed about 10 o'clock by the audience singing the National Anthem, everyone highly gratified by the enjoyable day's proceedings.


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