The Workmen’s Institute, Holbeach Road

The building is due for demolition so thought it was a good idea to record it before it goes. Do you have any memories of this building and its work.

Workmen’s Institute soon after its opening in 1879

The foundation stone was laid on Monday, 14th April, 1879, by Mrs. Sarah Everard (1810-1903), of Fulney House, in the presence of a large company, including her husband, Robert Everard ‘the old squire’. T.M.S. Johnson Esq., of Holland House, Welby, J.P., of Sheffield, Ashley Maples, solicitor, Dr. Thomas Stiles, Edward Palmer Maples, timber merchant, Alfred Hobson, draper, and the Revs. R.G. Ash and S. Yates. A public tea was afterwards provided in the Foundry school-room, following which an entertainment consisting of vocal and instrumental music, readings and short speeches was given. The chair was occupied by Henry Matthews Proctor (1833-1912), of Wykeham, a well-known farmer and landowner, who took a great interest in the Institute. The trustees made a special effort to obtain the attendance of the Working Classes to the Ceremony and the succeeding

Entertainment  as the Institute was designed ‘particularly for their benefit.’2 The opening took place on Thursday, 30th October, 1879, and was performed by E.M.E. Welby, son-in-law of Robert and Sarah Everard. A public tea and entertainment followed.

In 1882 the little Institute was reported to be progressing in a very satisfactory manner. The reading room and smoking room were fairly well attended, a library had been started and at intervals entertainments of music and reading were given, which provided pleasant and instructive evenings for the members and their friends. Ten years later it was described as being in a ‘very flourishing’ condition.

In its issue of 20th March, 1900, the “Spalding Free Press” carried the report of an interview with Mrs. Everard who had just celebrated her 90th birthday, and reminded its readers that the Institute had been largely the gift of the venerable lady and ‘that throughout its existence she had supported it most handsomely, and that it has been productive of untold good to the neighbourhood’. At the time of her death, in 1903, the following tribute was paid to both husband and wife:

“The late Mr. and Mrs. Everard were singularly alike in many respects of their character – they were gentle and kindly in speech, large-hearted and generous in disposition, amiable and unassuming in deportment and, although possessing many elements of reserve, nevertheless powerfully impressed their personalities upon the town and district.”

Source: Aspects of Spalding – People & Places

7 Responses

  1. It seems a great shame it’s not being used for something else I have only been here 10 years so could someone explain why this amazing piece of history has not been saved.
    What would Mrs Everard have done.

    1. Come and help us manage this website or help getting local history group going. Regards Geoff at Chain Bridge Forge

        1. Hi June, The Civic Society I believe is trying to get the name plaque incorporated into any new building

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