Sunday, 22 June 2014

Loughborough and the opening of the Temperance Hall

The opening of the Temperance Hall in Loughborough town centre.

New Temperance Hall for Loughborough: Memorial stone-laying.

From: Leicester Chronicle and Leicestershire Mercury, Saturday 2nd September, 1899, pg 7, issue 4632

"An important epoch in the temperance movement in Loughborough was marked on Wednesday when the memorial stones of the new temperance hall and café were laid. Some years have elapsed since the proposal to erect a building of this nature was first made, and a company was formed in 1895 for the purpose. The scheme did not, however, take practical shape till last year, when stimulus was given to the movement and an earnest effort was decided upon. A bazaar was held in October, opened by the late Duchess of Rutland, and as the result of the encouragement received, the promoters determined to make a start towards realising their desires without further delay. A site had already been secured at the corner of Cattle Market and Granby Street, and plans were invited for a building to be erected thereon. The designs of Mr Albert E. King, architect and surveyor, were accepted, and contracts were signed in May last. Messrs. Main, Kendall, and Main undertaking the brickwork and Mr W. Corah the woodwork. Mr King’s plans are for a building which will unquestionably prove a creditable addition to the public architecture of the borough, while it promises at the same time to be admirably adapted for the purpose for which it is intended, making the best use of the somewhat awkwardly-shaped site on which it is being erected. It is to be a brick and terracotta building in renaissance style. The bricks are of local make, coming from Messrs. G. Tucker and Son, and the terracotta is supplied by J.C. Edwards, Wales. The tow main entrances are at the opposite corners of the Cattle Market front, that nearest Granby Street leading to the café, and that at the Devonshire Square end to the public hall. The café provides a large entrance hall and buffet from which is reached the first-class temperance dining-room with all the necessary accommodation. There is a ladies’ room with separate accommodation and also a second-class dining-room, to which a side entrance is provided in Granby Street. Beyond this, on the Granby Street side are a committee room and small hall capable of seating about 100 people, these rooms being also available for use in connection with the café as private dining-rooms when required. A large kitchen, serving-room and scullery are at the rear of the premises, with an open shed for keeping purposes and ample larder accommodation in the basement, where are also the coal ad heating chambers. The main entrance to the first-floor is as already stated, from the Devonshire Square corner, a flight a stone steps leading to the large public hall. A small private entrance is also arranged from Granby Street. The public hall is 57 feet by 31 feet 6 inches. A gallery is provided at the front end, and a platform at the other end, with ante-rooms on each side. The hall will seat about 500 persons. At the back is a retiring room and billiard room, to be used in connection with the café or as a gentlemen’s retiring room, and there is every accommodation on the floor in the way of lavatories. The public hall is so designed that it will be available for use for large dining parties in connection with the café, direct communication with which is obtained.   

Before the proceedings on Wednesday afternoon the principal participants, and a number of the temperance workers of the town, gathered at the Town Hall, then, crossing to the site of the new building, where an awning had been erected, and flags were flying. Among those present were the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress of Sheffield (Ald. and Mrs W. E. Clegg) the Mayor and Mayoress of Loughborough (Ald. and Mrs H. Coltman), Revs R.F. Handford, S.P. Carey, J. Stephenson, W. Dewdney, W J. Tomkins, Ald. A. A. Bumpus, Councillors, W. Morris, Messrs. H. Clemerson, G. T. Levers, J. Peer, H.E. Young, A. Richards, J.B. Main, H.H. Taylor, W. T. Tucker, T.J. Webb, F.W.H. Bumpus, T. Bass, Diggett (Kegworth), H. Corah, R. Vickers, T. Heath, Albert E. King, W. E. Lewis, and T.G. Mills (Leicester).

The proceedings commenced with the hymn, “All hail the power of Jesu’s name”, after which the Rev. W. Dewdney read a portion of scripture, and the Rev. J. Stephenson offered prayer.

Mr J. Peer announced the letters of apology from Sir Wilfred Lawson, M.P., Mr W. S. Caine, Mr H. J. Wilson, M.P., the Dowager Duchess of Sutherland, Mr W.P.Hartley, Lady Henry Somerset, Lady Carlisle, Ald. George White, Mr Arnold F. Hills, Mr A.C. Eccles, Mr C.L. Rothera, Mr T. Seldon, Mr W.C. Williams and Councillor J.S. Vorley. Mr Peer stated that Mr and Mrs Boden of Derby, had each taken £100 worth of shares in the company. The cost of the building, he added, would be about £3,500, and it was hoped that before long it would be open, and in working order, so that the public might see that the directors and promoters had made every provision that was possible to deal with this particular question. Donations had been received and shares taken up by several more people that day, and Mr J.B.Braithwaite, the chairman of the Brish Company, had sent a donation of £100. (Applause.)

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, said it afforded the Lady Mayoress and himself very great pleasure in being there to take part in that interesting ceremony. He regretted he was unable to attend the bazaar, but he was glad to hear it was so successful, and that £430 had been realised for the objects for which it was promoted. He was glad to hear further, and congratulate the temperance workers of Loughborough upon the fact that they were uniting so harmoniously in the prosecution of a crusade against one of the most blighting influences in the country, and he expressed the hope that their success would be greater than it had ever been before. He thought that everyone was agreed that the evils this country suffered in connection with intemperance were greater than those of any other influence in existence, and, therefore, when he found temperance people combining to prosecute this crusade, against strong drink, he could not but believe that the effect of that combination could only be for the advancement and well-being of the country, and he always had the greatest possible pleasure in taking part in any such movement. (Applause.)  He further congratulated the friends on the position of the site, which, he understood, was almost in the centre of the town, and, judging from his small opportunities of observation, he thought a hall like that was very essential for the welfare and prosperity of the borough. He congratulated the friends on their courage in choosing a site like that, from which he could see on all hands houses licensed for the sale of intoxicating drink which caused so much mischief and degradation in the country at large. He was glad to hear that the movement was already an assured success, and he echoed the sentiment of the rev. gentleman who prayed that there might be no fatal or other accident while the building was on the way. He hoped it would be a boon and centre for all sections of the temperance party in Loughborough, and also for all other societies who had for their object the uplifting and elevating of the people of Loughborough. (Applause.)

The Lord Mayor then laid the first memorial stone, the Mayor of Loughborough laid the next, Miss Young, on behalf of the British Women’s Temperance Association, declared the third well and truly laid, Mr H. Clemerson performed the ceremony in respect of No.4 on behalf of the Total Abstinence Society and the Band of Hope Union, Mr John Peer laying the last on behalf of the Good Templars and Rechabites.

After a collection had been made for the building fund, the Mayor of Loughborough proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Sheffield for their kindness in coming that day to help them. They were greatly indebted to them for having come when they must be very busily engaged in work at home. They knew, however, that the Lord Mayor was heart and soul in this movement, and had been in it for many years. (Applause.)

The vote of thanks was warmly accorded, and the Lord Mayor, in reply, remarked that he had been a total abstainer all his life and should remain so for the rest of his days. For the more one saw the more determined one ought to be to do everything one could to stop the mischiefs and miseries which undoubtedly flowed from the excessive consumption of intoxicating drinks. It used to be said that hard work could not be accomplished on cold water, but that idea had been altogether exploded. He might add that though he found his position a very onerous one, and his work kept him engaged in fourteen or fifteen hours a day, he was quite able to accomplish without the help of intoxicating drink. (Laughter and applause.)

Cheers for the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, and the Mayor and Mayoress ended the proceedings and a move was then made to the Town Hall where tea was provided.

After tea a number of short speeches on temperance and its work were given.

The Mayor said that was a red letter day for temperance workers. For some years they had looked forward to building a temperance hall, and now he believed they would have one well worthy of the cause and of the town. It would be a place where they could carry on their work as they pleased instead of being on sufferance wherever they went amongst the various churches of the town. They felt it very desirable that the strength of the workers in the town should be united and they expected the hall would be of great service to them in this respect.

Mrs J. C. Coltman, representing the B.W. T. A., in the course of her address urged that they should ask themselves whether they were doing all they could to stem the tide of the drink traffic. Their great aim was to see less of the drink trade, and by the erection of the Temperance Hall they hoped that it would go a long way towards that object. It remained with the temperance people of the town whether the undertaking paid. (Hear, hear.)

Mr H.F. Young spoke of the need of co-operation, and urged that those who sympathised with their efforts should show their sympathy in a practical way.

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield said he had no doubts that if the hall was well managed the wants of the working-classes properly catered for, the rules were not too stringent, and the doors were opened to the people they wanted, if they did this he had no reason to doubt that philanthropy and, at any rate five per cent, would go further.  Turning to the present aspect of the temperance movement, Ald. Clegg, in his opinion, said they had no reason to be pessimistic. It was true that they spent more last year in intoxicating drink than in any other period of this country’s history. It was also a lamentable fact that large companies, and consequently pecuniary interest was being combined against the temperance movement. In spite of these things, however, in his opinion the temperance movement was never in a more satisfactory condition than it was in the present day, and the difficulty was to find fresh arguments to induce people to come over to their side. It was a remarkable fact that the arguments adduced at the commencement of the temperance movement still remained good. The foundation principle laid down then was that strong drink was unnecessary, and it was detrimental to the public health, and though that argument had been elaborated many thousands of times, it still continued the fundamental argument of the temperance movement. They were sometimes asked if temperance people were justified in the position they had taken up. In answer to that he pointed to the fact that everyone was dissatisfied with the present position of the licensing laws, and everyone admitted that something must be done. The difficulty was what that step should be. He could not but express his profound pleasure at the report of the Royal Commission, in his judgement, one of the most important reports published during the last 25 or 30 years with regard to temperance. The evidence given before the Royal Commission was overwhelmingly in favour of the temperance movement, and was not contradicted in any important particular by the other side. He had no hesitation in expressing the opinion that future legislation on the temperance movement, whether by the present or by a Liberal government, would be based on that report. – Ald. Clegg then dealt with a number of the recommendations and declarations in this report, and then stated that parliament had repeatedly tried to remedy the admitted evils of the licensing system. Parliament having failed so often, temperance people made one simple suggestion, and that was that parliament should give them a turn, and go in for local veto. (Applause).

Rev S.P. Carey, Rev R. Handford, and Rev W. J. Tomkins having addressed the meeting, Mr H. Clemerson proposed, and Mr J. Peer seconded, a vote of thanks to the speakers and the ladies responsible for the arrangements for tea. This ended the proceedings. The total proceeds of the day in aid of the building fund was £160."
The hall was used for a variety of functions, including meetings, concerts and performances. Later it became the YMCA, and was used to hold bazaars, before becoming the Palais de Danse. Gartons the auction mart moved here from Baxtergate: They, along with partner Amatt, were previously in the building that is now the Grade II listed building that was next door to the Baxtergate Hospital, and was previously used as the nurses’ home and as a medical information centre, and is possibly destined to be a restaurant chain if the cinema plans come into effect. The temperance hall was known as Garton’s Hall as early as September 1924, but it’s not clear if Gartons had already moved there by then. Here are a couple of pictures of the modern-day building.

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