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Reading Room

Wellingborough & Kettering News, May 28th, 1881, transcribed by Kay Collins

—A very pleasing and popular entertainment was given in the Schoolroom of this village, on Thursday week, by the members of the choir of the Parish Church, assisted other friends, in aid of the above reading room. In the absence of the vicar (the Rev. E. Templeman), the Rev. Mr. Smith, rector of Yelden, took the chair. There was a good and highly respectable audience present, comprising most of the leading inhabitants of the village and hamlet of Caldecot, as well as some from neighbouring villages. The proceedings opened with a pianoforte duet by Miss R. Eady and Miss Knight, and was followed by a glee admirably sung by the choir, entitled, "Spring's bright glances." Mrs. Simpson, of Higham Ferrers, then sang "Two little lives" in capital style, and was much applauded and recalled for an encore verse. The song “Sunny hills " was next given by the Rev. G. Oakley, but his singing, though good, lacked force of expression. Mr. H. Simpson then gave a reading about a Mormon bishop and his many wives and children, which excited much laughter. "Turnharn Toll” was the title of the next song, which was sung by Miss R. Browning with such grace and non chalance as to call forth a vociferous encore, which she gave in another song, which was equally sweetly rendered, and much applauded. Miss B. Baker then appeared and exhibited her manipulating talent in a pretty selection on the piano, and was followed by Mr. B. Hill, who sang "The Village Blacksmith," and a glee by the choir, entitled, "O who will o'er the downs," which was nicely rendered. "Jamie" was then sweetly sung by Miss R. Eady, who was encored and bowed her acknowledgment. The singing was now relieved by some extracts from "Mark Twain," which were read by the Rev. R. S. Baker, of Hargrave, and much appreaciated. This was followed up by Mr. F. R. Eady, who sang of his love for "Mistress Prue," and a gracefully executed touch on the piano in the shape of a selection by Miss B. Baker. The "Midshipmite" was then sung with much taste and good effect by Mrs. Simpson, and encored, and she responded by singing the last verse of the song amid much applause. The glee, "Fays and Elves," having been nicely sung by the choir, Miss R. Browning now appeared and sang "Summer Showers." The grace and ease, combined with the pleasing and jaunty manner, and popular style of Miss Browning quite captivated the audience, so that she was encored amid deafening plaudits, and her encore song was equally well received. Mr. B. Hill then sang "Three jolly Sailor Boys," and Mr. W. D. Knighton then gave a reading true to nature about "Mr. Pigetts visit to his mother," which was followed by a song from the Rev. G. Oakley, entitled, "She wore a wreath of roses," and the "Vesper Hymn" by the choir. Votes of thanks having been accorded to the chairman and the performers, the proceedings closed with the National Anthem. Miss R. Eady and Miss B. Baker presided at the pianoforte.

Wellingborough News, 3rd February 1883, transcribed by Kay Collins

—The annual meeting of the members of this Reading-room, was held on Wednesday evening, January 24th. The accounts were presented and showed a balance in hand in favour of the Society. The officers were all re-elected, with thanks for past services.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 10th March 1939, transcribed by Kay Collins

Chelveston's Loss - A Lament for the Old Village Reading Room
Perhaps it will interest many of your readers (writes "Bredanborn") to learn that two houses and a room are being demolished in Chelveston. Not much in that, you may think; it’s an everyday occurrence. But this is different; the room meant much to the lads of the village a few years back.

It has been fifteen or more years since the room was closed as a Reading Room. It was no larger than an ordinary front room; one door one window and a very low ceiling. But years ago there were thirty years ago there were thirty or forty members; how we used to fit in is a marvel now to me. I have been in there when it has been nearly impossible to see across the room for smoke.

What the Authorities would say to-day I dare not think, but believe me, I believe me, I have seen lads come in, with their lunches of bread and cheese and an onion, and dispose of them with the utmost relish. I remember when the fire had failed to draw up how those who arrived first used to revive it, and to make up for lost time pack the coal on, and in a little while fling the door open for fresh air.

There was a bookcase in there besides, full of books, very rarely touched, not many of them being very interesting.

Still, they were happy days; it was somewhere to go. I do know it was something to look forward to, to become a member.

The "lads" are now scattered about, but I feel sure when they know that the old reading Room is demolished, they will be sorry, because it was a link with their boyhood days.

At that time a young lady (now married and living at Rushden) used to earn her living by dressmaking and machining in one of the two houses. Many a father’s best pants have been cut out and run up for his son’s knockabout trousers, I know.

I for one am very sorry to see the old houses being demolished, they are like humans, they are old, and in the way. Not only we village folk will miss them; the birds will too. Hundreds of years the houses have provided a nesting place for starlings and sparrows in their thatched roofs. If they could all return and protest in chorus, Chelveston would be like Hyde Park on a Sunday.

Still, they are going, bit by bit. They have heard the old church bell tolling many times; now it is their turn. The workman’s hammer is sounding their knell.

A Dirge

"Chelveston is dying", the councillors say,
Slowly and peacefully passing away,
Like every dog it’s had its day,
Rotting and crumbling in senile decay.

Our rush-lights are low, our bellows are creaking,
The ancient pump handle is dolefully squeaking,
Won’t someone save us before it’s too late?
Why should we suffer this dreadful fate?


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