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Coffee House & Reading-room
Courtesy of the late Colin Bryant's Collection
by kind permission of Rushden Museum
Post Office & Coffee Tavern
Post Office & Coffee Tavern & Reading Room Opened in 1883

Wellingborough News, 29th April 1882, transcribed by Kay Collins

PUBLIC MEETING—On Monday evening a meeting was held in the old schoolroom, Mr. H. Rooksby in the chair, to consider what steps should be taken to provide suitable reading and recreation-rooms for the town. Mr. C. Groome reviewed the history of the reading-room, and stated what he had been informed were the reasons which induced them to convene the meeting, and concluded by moving "That in the opinion of this meeting it is desirable that suitable reading and recreation rooms should be provided for the town, the present arrangements not being adequate to the wants of the inhabitants." This was seconded by Mr. W. Groome. At this point Mr. W. H. Simpson and Mr. G. Shelton entered the meeting.—The Chairman remarked that he should like to see less sectarianism in the town, and as the Corporation had plenty of money he did not see that they could use it to better purpose than in providing a reading-room, which would be a benefit to the whole town. He did not think a company, as had been suggested, was practicable, as it would require £400, and where was that to come from? He then went on to explain why he was there, and also the position of matters in reference to a reading-room, so that the public might understand the question. He explained that he and Mr. Shelton would have been at the meeting earlier but they had been to another meeting. He hoped the very unsatisfactory state of matters was at an end, but he wished it to be distinctly understood that he was there only to express his sympathy with the meeting, but that in the present state of affairs he could not pledge himself to any one of the schemes put forth, as he was on the committee of the old society. He was also connected with the Corporation. He went on to explain that at the last meeting, in February, he carried a proposition, without at any rate an open dissentient, for the appointment of a committee to see what could be done to provide more comfortable rooms, and a committee different to the previous one was appointed, and he incidentally remarked that he did not think the old committee were deserving of so bad an opinion as some had of them. He then viewed the correspondence that had passed between the society and the Corporation, and also referred to the proposition passed by the Society last week to further ask the Corporation to assist them. He was present to show his willingness to help on any scheme that might be decided upon for the benefit of the town.—Mr. Shelton thought there was some misunderstanding as to how the matter stood between the Corporation and the old society. He did not think the Corporation wished to do away with the old society, but they would be willing to accept a committee of five members of the old society to work the thing with the Corporation. That was his idea, and he believed it was the wish of the whole of the members of the Corporation. He should be very glad to assist any scheme for the benefit of the town. They could not do as they would, for although they might have the money they could not command a suitable site for a room. He asked the meeting to adjourn until after the Corporation had met, which would be before the week was out, when he should be glad to assist in carrying out a scheme for the purposes proposed.— Mr. C. Groome asked if it was intended to appoint a committee of the society as a permanent condition, as seeing the way they had managed the old society be did not think they would be much of an acquisition to the Corporation. There was formerly a good number of members, and yet the committee had received in the 25 or 30 years they had been in existence some £250 or £300 beside their subscriptions, and now they had but very few members, and could not meet their liabilities, while their assets had been called "trumpery." He thought if the Corporation worked with a committee it should be one appointed by the re-organised society, as he supposed if the Corporation managed it they would have to pay subscriptions, it not being intended, he supposed, to establish a free reading-room, and he did not think a committee of the old society would be satisfactory.—Mr. Simpson explained that he did not suppose the Corporation meant that five members of the old society were to be appointed for a permanency, but that the society would meet, say quarterly or at stated times, and then the committee would be formed from among the members. He wished it to be understood that he did not express a preference for the Corporation or any scheme.—Mr. Shelton said the Corporation had nobody but the old society to treat with, and if they had any communication from any one else it would necessitate the whole matter being gone through again.—On the motion of Mr. W. Groome, seconded by Mr. W. Smith, the meeting was adjourned for a fortnight. Votes of thanks to the chairman, and to Messrs. Simpson and Shelton for their information, concluded the meeting.

Wellingborough News, 6th May 1882, transcribed by Kay Collins

CORPORATION—On Monday evening, at a meeting of the Corporation, the question of assisting the reading-room committee was discussed, when it was decided to abide by the resolution passed at a previous meeting, viz., that the Corporation will not vote any sum to the present reading society unless the society give up all control to the Corporation, in which case the Corporation will make suitable provision for the town. Mr. G. Shelton gave notice that he would again call attention to the subject at the next meeting.

Wellingborough News, 6th January 1883, transcribed by Kay Collins

READING ROOM—On Thursday evening, the 28th ult., at a meeting of the committee of the Reading Society, the Rev. E. Templeman in the chair, it, was resolved to break up the society at the end of the year.

Wellingborough News, 17th February 1883, transcribed by Kay Collins

OPENING OF COFFEE HOUSE AND READING-ROOM—The need for a good reading-room has been felt in the town for some time past, the old room from various reasons being supported sufficiently to meet the public requirements, and during the past summer a Limited Liability Company was formed for the purpose of providing suitable accommodation for the sale of tea, coffee, and refreshments to the general public, and to provide reading and recreation-rooms for the exclusive use of subscribers. The following at the first meeting of the company in August last were appointed directors:—Messrs. W. H. Simpson, deputy recorder, E. B. Randall, (Mayor), J. Crew, J.P., Alderman W. Spong, and Burgesses G. Shelton, G. Whyman, and Mr. C. Groome. As the result of their efforts a very convenient though not large refreshment bar was opened on Monday, on the premises lately occupied by Mr. B. Smith, near the Post Office, and a rattling trade was done. Several of the directors, especially Messsrs. W. H. and G. Simpson, and Mr. Shelton, rendered valuable assistance. In some few instances the event was made the occasion for a half-holiday for the young people. Mrs. George entertained her young women to a meat tea on the occasion. In addition to the bar, a very convenient room, well lighted and warmed and cocoa-matted, for reading, was opened to subscribers, and the number who paid their subscriptions on the opening day exceeded expectation. The Times, Telegraph, Standard, Daily News, Agricultural Gazette, Gardening Illustrated, Illustrated London News, Punch, Funny Folks, Stamford Mercury, Northampton Herald, Northampton Mercury, and Wellingborough News, in addition to magazines, will be laid on the table; chess and drafts, and bagatelle will also be provided, and, judging from the opening, we may safely predict success to the undertaking.

Wellingborough News, 1st November 1884, transcribed by Kay Collins


The Directors of the above Company hereby give Notice that they will lease the business, including the goodwill and use of the furniture, fixtures, and effects of the said Company from year to year, or for a term of years.

Any person wishing to become Lessee is requested to send in his application to the undersigned on or before the 14th day of November next. For further particulars apply to

Higham Ferrers, 30th October, 1884.

Wellingborough News, 21st December 1894, transcribed by Kay Collins

READING-ROOM AT THE TOWN HALL –This reading-room was opened on Monday when sixty members paid the quarterly contributions 1s. each. Amongst this number was the Mayor (Mr. T. M. Coleman), and nine other members of the Town Council.

Rushden Echo, 17th January 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Reading Room Committee held a special meeting at the Town Hall on Monday evening, the Mayor presiding. It was decided to continue the Reading Room, the members’ subscriptions to be raised from 1s. to 2s a quarter. It was resolved to ask the Town Council to make a grant of £3. Regret was expressed at the lack of support given to the institution, and it was hoped that more would join in the near future.

Rushden Echo, 29th January 1926, transcribed by Kay Collins

Higham Ferrers Reading Room to Close—The annual meeting of the Higham Ferrers Reading-room members was held on Friday last, Major F J Simpson presiding, supported by the secretary (Mr C W Smith). The balance-sheet was adopted. Discussion took place on the advisability of continuing or closing, and on the motion of Alderman T Patenall, seconded by Mr K Flintham, it was decided, owing to lack of enough support from the public, to close the reading-room to-morrow (Saturday). The reading-room has been used as such for 32 years.

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