A Brief History of The Institute......
Meanwood Institute's builing has served as a social meeting place for the people of Meanwood for many years.
The building was funded by the Beckett family, the local family of bankers who also endowed Green Road Primary School (Meanwood CofE Primary School) and Holy Trinity Church in Meanwood in the 19th century. In 1810 William Beckett bought the land on which the Institute stands, and the building was constructed in the 1820's and served as a local meeting place and school.
Later there were concerns at the extent of local drunkeness and the building served for some time as a "British Workman" public house with no drink, a part of the temperance movement common at that time. In 1885 Sir Edmund Dennison funded a brick extension at the rear of the building for billiard tables that were supplied by Mawson of Leeds. These two fine slate bedded tables are still in use. They are now used for snooker and over the years have been recovered many times. The Institute then served as a meeting place and educational facility for the community for a monthly subscription of 6d providing newspapers to read, a library and use of the billiard room.
in 1939 the Right Hon. R.W.E Beckett sold the Institute and the adjacent land to Ernest Haley, a local builder who built the Sunset estate. In 1940 Mr Haley sold the site to the trustees who were appointed on behalf of the people of Meanwood and nearly 80 years later the Institute is still run by four trustees and an executive committee.
In 1993 The nearby Meanwood C.of.E Primary School was extended following fundraising of £150,000 by the school community assisted by local enthusiasm and efforts. By that time, the Institute was in a poor state, the roof leaked and the snooker tables threatened to fall through the floor. Following the example of the school and with a carry over of local enthusiasm , the Meanwood Institute Restoration Appeal was launched raising £20,000 and restoration work was carried out by local volunteer tradesmen.
Almost 200 years after its building, the Meanwood Institute still serves the local community as a social meeting place. It is a Grade II listed building and is a registered charity. The rooms are much used by local societies and clubs, children's birthday parties and events and continues to exist due to the voluntary efforts of its committee and supporters, mainly funded by fees, lettings and occasional grants.
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