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Bygone Stanley - The Institute


This Institute for recreation served a useful purpose to the villagers for many years. There were facilities within for playing games, billiards, snooker, darts, dominoes and cards. There was a membership fee which was affordable to the working villager, and this fee contributed towards its upkeep. In the early part of the 1900's George Hampshire was Secretary.

A lady, Elizabeth Haigh of Lake Lock, sold the plot of land on which it was built for £10 and it was sold under trust to a group of ten villagers. The building is now used for other purposes. It is located on the Aberford Road adjacent to an estate of property built mainly for elderly people and is known as 'The Chase' which is built on the site of the now disused Stanley Station.

I was a member of this Institute from 1930 to 1934. At that time the subscription fee was 1/- per quarter (4/- per year). The membership was comprised of men and boys of all age groups. I remember well the skills of many at snooker and billiards. Playing darts was popular and there were many skilful players at this game. The majority of members at this time were mine workers from Newmarket Colliery. There was available light refreshments and non-alcoholic drinks. It was under a caretaker who kept the rooms clean and tidy and if any member misbehaved he was quickly disciplined. As years went by, wages improved and the villagers were able to afford other means of recreation and eventually the Institute was closed in the early part of the 1940's. Many years passed by before the ladies of the village took over the building and they used it for various functions, meetings etc. for many years. It is now used for some private business project.

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