Crich Reading Rooms

The first Crich Reading Rooms

The earliest reference to a Reading Room at Crich was a report in a newspaper dated 19 October 1866.

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal 19 October 1866

Crich reading Rooms 1866
Crich reading Rooms 1866

The Reading Room was housed in a building provided by Crich solicitor Michael JESSOP.

The need for larger premised with more facilities was desired by the committee.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald; 5 November 1870
The committee and members of the Crich reading room, have long desired free library in that place and have determined to make an effort to get one. They solicited the church choir to aid them by giving their services to which they once agreed, and on Monday night, October 31st, the first attempt was made. A select party of the committee gave some very interesting readings and recitations, after which the church choir sang some beautiful glees very credibly under the able leadership of Mr S Price. The committee were well satisfied with the success they met with, and it is intended that these evening entertainments shall continue at intervals through the winter months.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald 24 December 1870
On Monday the 19th instant, another entertainment was given for the benefit of the Reading Room Library. The wet and uncomfortable evening did not prevent the assembling together of a very good audience who listened with evident pleasure to the reading, recitations and music. Mr J BOWER caused much mirth and gave great satisfaction with his Lancashire readings and the songs and duets of Messrs J DAWES and BRIDDON who were deservedly loudly applauded. As usual the vicar, the Rev W CHAWNER, was in the chair.

Derbyshire Courier 6 December 1873
A public tea and entertainment was provided in the above place, for the benefit of the institution. EM Watts Esq, JP, of Lea presiding on the occasion; the Holloway choir rendered choice selections of music at intervals during the evening.

In 1888, some twenty-two years later, their hopes were realised.

Derbyshire Courier;19 May 1888
On Tuesday last an entertainment on behalf of the funds of the newly-formed Reading Room was held. The chair was occupied by the Rev C Aldridge, of Ripley. Mr Barker, of Ripley, gave an interesting series of readings from Irish life and writings, including selections from “Handy Andy,” &c. Irish songs were sung with excellent effect by Mr Southerill, of Ripley, and Miss Curzon, of Crich. Mr A Cowlishaw presided at the harmonium.

Crich Reading Rooms and Miners' Welfare

Photo Peter Patilla

Crich reading Rooms

Crich Reading Rooms, Miners' Welfare Hall; School Canteen on Sandy Lane, just above the Baptist Chapel

Photo courtesy Alan Flint

Name plaques on Crich Reading Rooms

Memorial stones in the wall of the Reading Room

Over the years this building has been a Reading Rooms, Miners' Welfare Hall and school canteen. The Miners' Welfare was very influential in the educational and social development of the parish. They were responsible for the creation of the Crich Recreation Ground just off the Marketplace.

Kelly’s Directory 1891
Crich Reading Room (H. Dyson, sec)

Bulmers 1895 Directory
A Reading Room was erected by public subscription in 1889, at a cost of £350. On the ground floor is a spacious billiard room, and above a bagatelle room and a reading room.

Kelly’s Directory 1899
At Crich is a reading room, a stone building, erected in 1887 at a cost of £300.

1910 Tax schedule and property owners
Crich Reading Rooms; Baptist Trust per A Henshaw £8

Kelly’s Directories 1912, 1925 & 1932
The reading room is a stone building, erected in 1887 at a cost of £300.

John Thewlis Johnson
John Thewlis Johnson was the "Nephew" in Johnson and Nephew Ambergate wireworks; he served on many committees including that of Crich Reading Rooms.

Baptist minute book (courtesy Alan Flint)
The Reading Rooms were once used as a Miners Welfare –
22 Mar 1932
Application from the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Electric Power Company to erect a power cable over the Baptist Church property to the miners’ welfare. This was not agreed upon.

Also used as a Schools canteen –
26 April 1949
Education Authority requested permission to use Baptist private road to the meal centre to avoid children using Sandy Lane. This was agreed with provisions; children kept under supervision; Education Authority responsible for any damage; the path be maintained by the Authority.

Newspaper Reports

Sheffield Independent 15 July 1889
On Saturday, near the Marketplace, the memorial stone of the Crich Reading Room were laid by Mr Jacoby MP, Mr H Dyson, Mr E Kirk, Mr John Dawes, and Mr H Boag for Mr R Wildgoose snr. The inclemency of the weather prevented the programme being carried out as was intended, and an adjournment was made to the British School, where an ample tea was provided. After tea letters were read from Mr Marston Smedley, Mr AF Hurt, Mr JS Sandars, and Mr JT Johnson, expressing regret at their inability to be present. Mr Jacoby said he had come down from London with very great pleasure to assist in the proceedings of the day. He was very pleased to find that the reading room in course of construction was to be non-political, and the books, papers, and periodicals would be placed there to meet all grades of opinion. He hoped before long to see connected with it a library of two-fold nature; one to be kept exclusively of the reading room reference, and the other to be a lending library for the use of those who wish to read home. He wished the Institute every success.

Derby Daily Telegraph; 14 February 1889
A match has just been played in the Crich Reading Room, between six members of the Holloway Institute and six members of the Crich Reading Room. The match was closely contested throughout, Crich eventually winning an exciting match by four points.

Nottinghamshire Guardian 9 November 1889
A new reading room having been erected on the plot of freehold land near the Marketplace at Crich, the opening ceremony was performed on Saturday afternoon by Mr J Thewlis Johnson, the proprietor of the Alderwasley Wire works. The Institute is to be conducted upon strictly non-sectarian lines, and the management consists of representatives from various religious bodies in the village. The land was obtained from the trustees of the Baptist Chapel, at a cost of about £25. Altogether the reading room will cost over £320, towards which £60 has been realised. There have been three reading rooms in Crich previously, but they had not been properly supported, and soon fell into disuse. Eight or ten years ago an Institute was inaugurated, and was closed again in a month. The architect of the new building is Mr A Cowlishaw, and the builders are a local firm. There was a fair attendance of friends and patrons of the opening. Mr HP Boag, who presided, said that he hoped the Institute would be a resort for working men and use, where they will spend their leisure time in reading or playing games. Mr JT Johnson performing the opening ceremony, said he trusted the building would be made the rendezvous for friendly and social meetings – a place where they could discuss important questions, and where they could obtain the means of enlightening each other. They must endeavour to keep on neutral lines, and so enable the Institute to accomplish a highly moral and useful work. The building contains, besides the reading room, billiards and card rooms.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald; 11 October 1890
A billiard match was played at the Conservative Club, Belper, on Saturday between members of that institution and Crich Reading Room.
Crich team: W Dawes, F Kirk, S Sellors, J Rogers, S Ollerenshaw, W Glossop, J Ollerenshaw, S Shipley

Derby Daily Telegraph 29 January 1891
The third annual meeting of the Society was held in the billiard room on Wednesday, Mr HB Boag presiding. The Hon.secretary (Mr Dyson) read the annual report from which it appeared the society numbers 67 members, this being a little under the average for the year. A quantity of books has been gratuitously supplied during the year, the committee hope to establish a library. Fourteen billiard and three bagatelle matches have been played, eight being won and nine lost. The Treasurer’s report showed the expenses to be a little in excess of receipts. The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: president Mr AF Hurt, JP, CC: treasurer Mr HB Boag (Bank House); secretaries, Mr H Dyson and Mr H Leafe: Chairman of committee Mr Kirk: committee, Mrs T Connell, G Butler, J Hopkinson, J Slack, J Mason, W Else, T Oliver, J Robinson, W Glossop, Jno dawes, S Allen, Jno Rogers, T Whetton, Jno Bowmer, Geo Brown, H Cowlishaw.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald; 17 September 1892
In connection with Crich Reading Room, Athletic Sports and Football Contests took place on Saturday. Although this was a new departure and doubts were entertained of its success, the committee worked indefatigably and were well rewarded their undertaking. The weather was everything that could be desired, and quite 500 people watched the different events with keen interest. The programme consisted of a 120 yard handicap for Crich parishioners only, an open 120, 440 yards, and half mile handicaps, throwing the cricket ball, bowling at the wicket, and football contest. Twelve teams entered for the latter and the Nuttall’s Park and Crich (Oliver’s team) were left to play in the final, but darkness prevented this from taking place, and it was ultimately arranged between themselves the former to take the first prize (copper kettles), and the latter to have the second (silk handkerchiefs). At the conclusion of the sport, and in semi-darkness Mr Boag distributed the prices to successful competitors. The promoters were well satisfied with the results, and there is every possibility of a continuance of the meeting next season on a more advanced scale.

Sheffield Daily Telegraph; 4 September 1893
In aid of Crich Reading Room, an athletic meet in was held on Saturday, under the approval of the NCU and AAA. There was also a six aside football contest by permission of the Derbyshire Association.

Derbyshire Courier; 23 December 1893
Langley Mill Athletic v Crich Reading Rooms

Derbyshire Courier 10th of March 1894
On Friday evening, a lantern concert was given in the British Schools, in aid of the Crich Reading Room. Mr W Glossop gave his services for the Reading Room, and bought a powerful limelight magic lantern. There was a splendid lecture given on the “World Fair” at Chicago, by that gentleman, and about 80 photographs were produced. The musical part of the programme was rendered by the following: Mr WJ Vickers, Mr J Lee (of Belper), and Mr B Glossop. Mr W Glossop’s band rendered several nice and interesting musical selections. Mrs Radford, of Fritchley, prove a very able accompanist.

Sheffield Daily Telegraph; 16 November 1894
On Wednesday evening sale of the goods, etc, which had been left over at the bazaar in aid of the above last year, was held. There were many very useful and ornamental articles from the numerous sewing meetings which had been held by the lady friends. The same evening a coffee supper, which had been given entirely free, was provided. The proceeds raised nearly £7

Sheffield Daily Telegraph; 15 November 1895
On Wednesday evening last, supper was provided in the above Institute. There were a large number present. Mrs Peach, Miss Allen, etc, rendered assistance. The proceeds were devoted to the funds of the Institute.

Sheffield Independent; 23 February 1895
The annual general meeting of the members of the Crich Reading Room was held in the billiard room of the Institute on Thursday evening, and Mr Samuel H Dawes presided. Mr H Dyson read the report and balance sheet both of which were highly satisfactory and were adopted. The debt at the bank was reduced £7. The total receipts for this year are £53 15s 7½ and the total expenditure £55 0s 1d. Mr A Hurt, JP, CC, was re-elected president, Mr H Dyson secretary and Mr Butler treasurer.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald; 18 June 1932
Crich Miners’ Welfare Institute is being enlarged and it is computed that the large room of the new wing will seat about 150 persons. Electric light is also being installed. Mr John Southern (manager of Wingfield Manor Colliery), where most of the Crich miners are employed, has consented to perform the opening ceremony on July 23. Mr W Martin is the Welfare secretary.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald; 30 July 1932
Official Opening by Mr J Southern at Crich
Crich Miners’ Welfare has been enlarged at a cost of £136. It is now possible for 100 to dance in the room upstairs. New outdoor premises have been built, a radiogram installed and additional provision made for games and a library. The official opening ceremony was on Saturday, when councillor SJ Lynam, Fritchley, took a great interest to the hall before the welfare movement secured it in 1922, presided and introduced Mr John Southern, manager of Wingfield Manor Colliery and chairman of South Wingfield Miners’ Welfare, who unlocked the door and declared the Welfare Hall open. Inside the hall Mr Southern was supported by Mr E Overton and Mr H Hicken president and secretary respectively of the DMA. Messrs JS Squire (South Wingfield Welfare), HV Rollinson, W Fox (representing the Welfare Tutorial Class) GG Smith, Mrs FJ Lynam, Mrs J Southern, Mr J Riley (President Crich Welfare), and Mr HW Martin (secretary). Mr WTE Curzon represented Crich Comrades Club, the rooms had been decorated by Mr HW Martin and others.

Derby Daily Telegraph; 20 October 1932
Mr RA Burrows, of Belper, lectured in Crich Miners’ Welfare Hall on “Local History” under the auspices of the Welfare Adult Education Joint Committee (Notts and Derbyshire) last night. Mr W Martin was in charge of the arrangements.

Derby Daily Telegraph; 17 September 1932
Promoted by Crich Miners’ Welfare, a whist drive and dance took place last night in the Welfare Hall. Mr F Else was MC and Mr HW Martin secretary. Mr Martin and his committee are negotiating for the purchase of Crich cricket ground for a sports and recreation ground. It is proposed buy a portion of the adjoining land for a children’s entrance.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald; 8 October 1932
Crich Miners' Welfare promoted a “mystery evening” at the weekend, Mr HW Martin (secretary) making the arrangements. A snooker handicap was won by Mr S Wetton and a dominoes handicap by Mr N Turner. Music was suppled by Miss Patti Wood AVCM, South Wingfield, who directed community singing. When the mystery man, “Rarz of Tarzreh” arrived about 10:30 pm he caused great amusement by his antics and his peeps into the future. For dancing, Mr F Else was the MC. Refreshments were supplied by Mesdames G Adkin, J Riley and Miss Ward.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald; 24 September 1932
Crich Miners' Welfare organised a dance on Friday. Mr Fred Else was MC and Miss Patty Wood, South Wingfield, pianist. The cake guessing competition was won by Mr F Mellors. Refreshments were served by Mesdames J Riley W Joyner G Atkin and L Ward. Mr HW Martin was secretary

Derby Daily Telegraph; 11 November 1932
A lantern lecture was given in Crich Miners’ Welfare last evening on “Derbyshire and its scenery,” by Mr RA Burrows, Belper. Mr HV Rawlinson, of South Wingfield, was the lantern operator. There was a good attendance.

Derby Daily Telegraph; 9 January 1933
Nearly 200 children and 20 old people were entertained to tea on Saturday in the Crich Miners Welfare Hall. The effort was promoted by the Welfare, and the cost was met by public subscriptions.

Derby Daily Telegraph; 11 January 1933
Mr HW Martin, the secretary of Crich Miners’ Welfare, has been officially informed by the Central Welfare Committee that sanctions been given the purchase of the Crich cricket ground near the Marketplace, to be used for a sports and recreation ground for the welfare. The Crich cricket club has been given notice to surrender the ground at the end of next March, when the Welfare will take possession and proceed with the conversion of the ground into a sports and recreation ground.

Derby Daily Telegraph; 10 March 1933
Mr HW Martin, secretary of the Crich Miners’ Welfare, informed a “Telegraph” representative yesterday that the Welfare has acquired Crich cricket grounds from Mr S Bower, the owner, for £350 and that the Crich Cricket Club will surrender the ground on March 25. The deal was completed this week, the solicitor concerned being Mr WW Sheppard, of Ripley. The ground is to be utilised by the Welfare as a sports and recreation ground, and children are to be especially catered for. The Welfare trustees presented at the turnover were Messrs HW Martin, G Atkins, and J Riley (chairman).

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald; 6 May 1933
Crich Miners’ Welfare are laying two grass courts for lawn tennis on the sports and recreation ground. These are expected to be ready in about two or three weeks time. Later it is intended to lay a hardcourt.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald; 30 September 1933
A dancing class has been formed at the Crich Miners’ Welfare, with Mr George Holmes as instructor.

Derby Daily Telegraph; 26 October 1933
Mr A Walton, MSc, of Derby, lectured on “The Chemistry of Everyday Life,” last evening in Crich Miners Welfare Institute. Mr HW Martin carried out the secretarial arrangements.

Derby Daily Telegraph; 23 June 1934
An anonymous donor has sent £1 to the Crich Miners Welfare Committee towards the provision of another swing on the Welfare ground. The Committee recently erected a number of swings on the ground.

Derby Daily Telegraph; 14 October 1935
A junior football club has been formed at Crich under the leadership of Mr W Lees, BA, of Crich, formerly headmaster of Fritchley Church School, and membership is open up to 20 years of age. The Crich Miners’ Welfare has granted the use of a portion of their playing field for matches.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald; 31 March 1950
Tenders are invited for the supply to the canteen to be established at Crich in the near future, of rationed and un-rationed provisions (excluding meat), vegetables, milk and cleaning materials. Approximately 250 meals daily will be served.

Derby Daily Telegraph; 25 May 1950
School Meals – Crich Canteen
Tenders are invited from transport contractors holding B licences for the transport of School Meals from the Canteen opening at Crich in September to the Schools at Fritchley and Whatstandwell. Further details may be obtained from the underside to whom tenders should be sent as soon as possible. G Squires, Divisional Education Officer.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald; 7 July 1950
Derbyshire Education Authority – Mid-Derbyshire Divisional Executive – Crich Schools Canteen – the management committee invite applications from suitable persons the following appointment to the Crich Canteen to be opened for the service of school meals early in the autumn term:
1 ASSISTANT COOK, 30 hours weekly £132 per annum
1 GENERAL ASSISTANT, 30 hours weekly £123 per annum
1 PART-TIME GENERAL ASSISTANT, 20 hours weekly £82 per annum
2 PART-TIME GENERAL ASSISTANTS, 12½ hours weekly each £51/5/- per annum.