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Article from Wellingborough News 21 April 1899
Opening of Britannia Working Mens Club 1899
Opening of Britannia Working Mens Club 1899

Mr B T Hall Performs the Ceremony

The growth of clubs in the country of late years has been almost phenomenal, and nowhere outside the Metropolis has there been such an addition to the numbers as in this part of the Midlands. The movement has not been confined altogether to the towns but some of the rising villages have been following the example set in the larger centres of population.

At Finedon there is an exceptionally large number of clubs, and Kettering can boast of a great many, and perhaps it is not surprising that Burton Latimer, which comes between these two towns, should have been influenced in the matter of example. Some four or five years ago the Burton Latimer Britannia Club was started in a very modest manner in a room off the High Street, but as the membership incrreased the old premises became more and more inadequate, and the members took steps with a view of getting more suitable premises. They purchased a plot of land at the Finedon end of the village in readiness when the time was opportune to build. Last year it was thought that time had come and Messrs Mosley and Anderson, architects, of Finedon and Northampton, were called in to advise and to prepare plans.

In due time contracts were entered into, and Messrs. Wilson and Allright, builders, of Northampton, made a start, and within the last few days have completed the erection of the club, which gives general satisfaction to all concerned. The building has a 40ft frontage to the High Street and almost faces the Finedon Road. It has a very imposing elevation, with Bath stone dressings and Sileby brick facings. There is a central entrance, with an ample hall. On the left hand side is the bar, and the "servery" connects the bar with the games room behind. On the right hand side is the reading room and the caretaker's house. At the rear is a large garden for quoits, etc, and there is plenty of room for extension when necessary. From the entrance hall stairs lead up to the billiard and concert room - a very fine room indeed. There is a specially arranged platform, with an artistes' dressing room at the rear. There is a wood dado around most of the rooms, the walls above being distempered in art coloours. For the concert room a special access has been provided from the side street so that it can be used independently of the club premises proper. The club is heated by Marriott's low pressuure system, and most of the rooms are illumined by incandescent lights. The cost of the building was about £1,200.

The opening ceremony took place on Saturday evening, and began with a first-class dinner in the concert room, provided by Mr and Mrs Tapsell, of the Burton Latimer Coffee Tavern. Mr Dicks (the president of the club) took the chair, and the large company included Mr B T Hall (a very prominent man in the club world), Mr A Mosley, Mr H M Scrivener (of the firm of Mosley and Anderson) and various visiting members from Northampton, Kettering, and other places.

After dinner the Chairman read letters of apology from the Rev W D Sargeaunt (vicar of Bozeat) Mr Sidney Vernon (a former president), Mr Allright (the builder), Mr G Cooper (Phipps and Co), and Messrs Bingley and Co, Burton on Trent, enclosing cheque for two guineas.

The Chairman, in a few words, explained that the club was started some four or five yeaars ago, and now numbered 250 members. He then called upon Mr Hall to declare the club open.

Mr Hall, in an eloquent speech, said he brought with him the good wishes from their fellow members in all parts of the United Kingdom. There was no county in England that had made such progress in club life, or had been so successful as Northamptonshire. Not only had that development been in the way of erecting magnificent buildings in the place of old ones, but in the creditable character of its management. During the last fortnight he had been engaged in working out an abstract of returns sent in from various clubs connected with the "Working Club Movement".

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